District of Columbia dental company cited by US Labor Department's OSHA
for exposing workers to bloodborne pathogen hazards
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited MD Dental Center PC, doing business as Smile Center Dental, for 26 alleged serious violations¿including exposing workers to bloodborne pathogen hazards¿at the company's facility in Washington. OSHA's February inspection, initiated in response to a complaint, resulted in $61,600 in proposed penalties.
The cited violations include workers' exposure to bloodborne pathogens without an exposure control plan or proper training, workers without proper eye protection when using chemicals to sanitize medical instruments, egress issues, exposure to electrical hazards and the use of inadequate personal protective equipment. Additionally, the company failed to provide workers with Hepatitis B vaccinations within 10 days of employment, have an adequate hazard communication program and training in place, properly label chemicals and maintain material safety data sheets for chemicals used on-site. A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.
"Employers must protect workers who are occupationally exposed to blood or other potentially infectious materials," said Michael Stracka, acting director of OSHA's Baltimore/Washington Area Office. "All medical facilities have a duty to provide a safe and healthful workplace for their employees."
Detailed information about the hazards involving bloodborne pathogens can be found at https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/bloodbornepathogens/index.html.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the Baltimore/Washington area director, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Administration 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 Baltimore/Washington Area Office at 410-865-2055.
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 exist 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.
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 252-693-7828 or TTY 252-693-7755.