U.S. Department of Labor | August 11, 2015
Emergency medical transport company ignores health precautions,
ambulance workers unprotected from risks of infection and disease
Lifefleet LLC faces more than $235K in fines for 14 health violations after OSHA inspection
NORTH LIMA, Ohio - Emergency ambulance workers must concern themselves first with the needs of the people who depend on them. Employees working at a North Lima medical transport company also had to worry about the dangers of infection and disease because their employer failed to protect them.
U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors found that Lifefleet LLC did not properly protect employees who transport patients from exposure to blood and other bodily fluids. Exposure may lead to serious diseases, such as hepatitis or human immunodeficiency.
OSHA cited Lifefleet on July 31 for four willful, seven serious and three other-than-serious health violations after a complaint prompted a February 2015 inspection. Proposed penalties total $235,800,
"Workers risking exposure to bloodborne pathogens must have clean clothing, personal protective equipment and be medically evaluated when an exposure occurs," said Howard Eberts, OSHA's area director in Cleveland. "Failing to protect workers from pathogens that can cause life-threatening diseases is unacceptable. As a medical service provider, Lifefleet should be setting the standard in employee protection - not ignoring it."
Inspectors found Lifefleet did not protect workers from bloodborne pathogens by:
- Failing to clean, launder or dispose of personal protective equipment and clothing at no cost to employees.
- Not ensuring medical evaluations and procedures, including blood tests, were made available quickly to employees after an exposure.
- Not providing employees with the results of postexposure evaluation tests.
- Failing to train workers on health hazards and precautions to prevent exposure.
OSHA determined that Lifefleet did not require employees to use gloves and facemasks when contacting infectious materials. The company failed to train workers about hazardous workplace chemicals, and did not review and update the exposure control plan annually. It also failed to establish and maintain a sharps injury log,
Inspectors also found the company exposed workers to slip and fall hazards from standing water in the ambulance bay and obstructed exit routes,
To view current citations, visit http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Lifefleet_LLC_1040096_0731_15.pdf*
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in the Cleveland Area Office, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission,
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report amputations, eye loss, 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 Cleveland Area Office at 216-447-4194,
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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Release Number: 15-1388-CHI
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