Region 2 News Release: BOS 2002-114
Tuesday, May 21, 2002
Contact: John M. Chavez
Phone: (617) 565-2075
Health Hazards at Batavia, N.Y., Federal Detention Facility Lead To Nearly $133,000 in Fines for Houston-Based Security Guard Firm
BUFFALO -- Workplace health hazards mainly involving the exposure of contract security guards to bloodborne and other potentially infectious materials have resulted in $132,750 in proposed fines against a Houston, Texas-based firm providing security staff to a federal detention facility in Batavia, N.Y.
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited the Barbosa Group, Inc. of Houston for alleged serious and willful violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act at the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Buffalo Federal Detention Facility in Batavia. The company has until May 24 to contest the citations.
According to Chris Adams, OSHA's acting area director for Buffalo, the action results from an inspection conducted Nov. 19, 2001 to May 2, 2002 as a result of a complaint regarding employee exposure to blood and other potentially infectious materials in the course of guards dealing with sometimes violent detainees.
The Barbosa Group was cited for the following alleged serious violations of OSHA's health standards:
- failing to establish a written exposure control plan to eliminate or minimize employee exposure to blood and other potentially infectious materials;
- failing to provide employees with training regarding procedures to follow in the case of an exposure incident, including the method of reporting the incident or the medical follow-up that would be made available.
The Barbosa Group also was cited for the following alleged willful violations of the OSHA standards:
- failing to make the hepatitis B vaccination available to employees who had occupational exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials;
- failing to immediately make available a confidential medical evaluation or follow-up to an exposed employee following a report of an exposure incident.
A serious violation is defined as a condition where there is a substantial possibility that death or serious physical harm can result to an employee. A willful violation is defined by OSHA as one committed with an intentional disregard for, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the OSHA act and regulations.
The investigation was conducted by OSHA's Buffalo Area Office, located at 5360 Genesee Street, Bowmansville, NY, telephone (716) 684-3891.
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