OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
Region 2 USDL 04-323-NEW/BOS 2004-047
Tues., March 9, 2004
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A Buffalo ambulance service's alleged failure to adequately protect its workers against the hazards of bloodborne pathogens has resulted in $65,000 in proposed fines from the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
LaSalle Ambulance, Inc., has been cited for alleged serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act following an OSHA inspection prompted by an employee complaint. The company provides 911 ambulance service and patient transportation for Western New York and is owned by Rural Metro Medical Services, which has operations in over 400 locations nationwide.
"OSHA standards spell out what employers must do to protect their workers against this hazard, but they must be strictly followed to be effective," said Arthur Dube, OSHA's Buffalo area director.
The citations address deficiencies in LaSalle's exposure control plan, engineering and work practice controls, post-exposure followup procedures and employee information and training.
Alleged violations include failure to:
-- Document conditions under which exposure to bloodborne hazards occurred;
-- Ensure timely provision of post-exposure medical treatment at no cost to employees;
-- Conduct post-exposure blood testing and give employees results and a healthcare professional's opinion in a timely manner;
-- Review and update the company's written exposure control plan;
-- Solicit input from non-managerial employees in developing exposure controls;
-- Provide employees with proper syringes and hypodermic needles; and
-- Provide mechanical means for cleaning up blood-contaminated broken glass.
OSHA issues a serious citation for a violation when there is a substantial possibility that death or serious physical harm can result to an employee from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. Within 15 business days from receipt of citations, the company may request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director or contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
OSHA's Buffalo Area Office, 5360 Genesee St., Bowmansville, NY, telephone (716) 684-3891, conducted the investigation.
OSHA conducted almost 40,000 inspections in fiscal year 2003, an increase of 2,000 inspections over FY 2002 levels; most were focused on high hazard industries. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is dedicated to saving lives, preventing injuries and illnesses, and protecting America's workers. For information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department releases are accessible on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call (202) 693-7773 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.
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