US Labor Department's OSHA cites Long Island, NY, nursing care facility for
11 health and safety hazards; proposes $41,000 in fines
WESTBURY, N.Y. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Avalon Gardens Rehabilitation & Health Care Center Inc. in Smithtown, for 11 serious violations of workplace health and safety standards, with $41,000 in proposed penalties, following an inspection. OSHA's Long Island Area Office began the inspection on April 18 in response to a complaint.
"Our inspection identified hazards that can and should be quickly and effectively corrected," said Anthony Ciuffo, OSHA's Long Island area director. "The protection and well-being of those who take care of the ill and injured is dependent on their employer's compliance at all times with proper and required safeguards."
OSHA found that the facility failed to research and document the use of safer medical devices to reduce occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens arising from needlestick injuries. OSHA's bloodborne pathogen standard requires employers to consider and use safer medical devices, whenever possible. Such devices include those that are needleless or have built-in protection to guard workers against potential contamination. For more information on other bloodborne pathogens standards, visit https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/bloodbornepathogens/index.html.
The facility also failed to provide eye protection for nurses, properly store and dispose of contaminated clothing and gloves and provide training to workers on proper disposal procedures. Additional violations cited include a wet floor due to an unconnected drain; an obstructed exit route; unmarked exit doors; lack of an eyewash station for workers using sanitizers; an exposed electrical panel; and improper storage of compressed gas cylinders. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Detailed information on hazards and safeguards for employees working in health care is available at https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/healthcarefacilities/index.html.
Avalon Gardens has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Long Island Area Office at 516-334-3344.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.