OSHA Fines Facility $28,000 for Failure to Protect Workers from COVID-19
Lack of respirators, no fit-testing log
Hackensack Meridian Health Residential Care in North Bergen, NJ, was issued “two serious citations and one other-than-serious violation for failing to protect employees from exposure to the coronavirus,” OSHA reported.1
Based on a coronavirus-related inspection, OSHA cited the facility for a serious violation of failure to provide respirators to resident-care employees for a period of time in March 2020.
“Employees were caring for residents who were exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus,” the agency stated. “OSHA also cited the employer for failure to conduct respirator fit testing, effective training, and compliant medical evaluations, during the period after the employer began providing respirators to the employees and requiring their use.”
The less serious violation was for failure to establish a record for qualitative fit tests of employees.
“Employers must take appropriate steps to protect the safety and health of their employees during the pandemic,” OSHA said in a statement. “OSHA will continue to field and respond to complaints and take steps needed to address unsafe workplaces, including vigorous enforcement action for all standards that apply to the coronavirus, as warranted.”
OSHA requires proactive measures to protect workers from the coronavirus, such as social distancing measures and the use of physical barriers, face shields, and face coverings when employees are unable to physically distance at least six feet from each other.
“OSHA guidance also advises that employers should provide safety and health information through training, visual aids, and other means to communicate important safety warnings in a language their workers understand,” the agency noted.
- U.S. Department of Labor. U.S. Department of Labor Cites Hackensack Meridian Health in North Bergen, New Jersey, For Failing to Protect Employees from Coronavirus. Sept. 11, 2020. https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/osha/osha20200911-0
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited a healthcare facility $28,070 for failing to protect healthcare workers from COVID-19.
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