OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
Region 2 News Release: 04-1739-NEW /BOS 2004-212
Friday, September 10, 2004
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Office: (617) 565-2074
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A Batavia, N.Y. commercial laundry faces $140,850 in proposed penalties from the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for allegedly failing to protect workers against exposure to bloodborne pathogens from soiled laundry, discarded sharp objects and contaminated working surfaces.
Angelica Textile Service Inc., which launders and supplies linen and uniforms for the health care industry, was cited for 20 alleged willful and serious violations of workplace health standards following an OSHA inspection prompted by employee complaints.
"We must ensure that employers protect their workers from occupational hazards, so that injury and illness rates continue to decline," said U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao. "The significant fines of $140,850 proposed in this case reflect this Administration's commitment to protecting the safety and health of America's workers."
OSHA's inspection found that the company failed to properly disinfect surfaces contaminated with blood or other potentially infectious materials and failed to develop and implement a schedule for disinfecting such areas. A willful citation, carrying a $63,000 fine, was issued for these items. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard for, or plain indifference to, the OSH Act and regulations.
The company was fined an additional $77,850 for 19 serious citations, including an incomplete and outdated exposure control plan; not implementing controls to minimize employees' exposures to sharp objects; failing to supply protective aprons and ensure contaminated aprons were properly cleaned; improper disposal of contaminated sharps; failing to regularly inspect and decontaminate laundry hampers used to transport contaminated laundry; not providing the Hepatitis B vaccine to workers in a timely manner; inadequate post-exposure followup; not maintaining a log of sharps injuries; and inadequate employee training on bloodborne hazards.
Other cited conditions included laundry, feces and other waste on walking surfaces; exit routes obstructed by laundry and hampers; and electrical hazards. OSHA issues a serious citation when death or serious physical harm can result to an employee from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Angelica Textile Services, Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and fines to request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. OSHA's Buffalo area office, located at 5360 Genesee St., Bowmansville, conducted the investigation. The telephone number is (716) 684-3891.
In fiscal year 2003, OSHA conducted almost 40,000 inspections, and more than half focused on high-hazard industries. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department (DOL) 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) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755. DOL 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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