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Failure to provide all required safeguards — including the hepatitis B virus vaccine — to protect employees against bloodborne pathogens, has resulted in $60,100 in proposed fines against a Salem, MA-based ambulance service, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Responding to employee complaints, OSHA has cited Northshore Ambulance for alleged willful and serious violations at its facilities in Salem, Peabody, Swampscott, and Beverly, MA. "To protect workers who are exposed to bloodborne pathogens, employers must follow stringent procedures, says Richard Fazzio, OSHA area director for Northeastern Massachusetts. "Northshore Ambulance did not supply employees with hepatitis B vaccine in a timely manner and also failed to dispose of regulated waste in accordance with health regulations," he says.
"As an ambulance carrier, this employer knew these requirements, yet apparently chose to ignore them. Therefore, we are issuing a willful citation and proposing a $44,000 fine," Fazzio explains. Additional fines of $16,100 were tacked on for 11 alleged violations classified as serious.
The serious violations included failure to provide workers with initial bloodborne pathogen training, lack of decontamination procedures, failure to supply face shields and protective clothing, failure to launder contaminated uniforms, lack of containers or areas to dispose of contaminated materials, and failure to review the exposure control plan.
The company had 15 working days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to either elect to comply with them, to request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.