Cal-OSHA levies fines for prison staph infections (11/1)
The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health on Tuesday fined the prison for not investigating eight bacterial infections between June 2006 and May of this year and for not reporting the two staph infections to the agency.
It's unclear whether the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation will appeal the fines, said spokeswoman Terry Thornton. The department also was fined for not providing training on how to handle infections and for not taking preventive measures such as disinfecting hands, surfaces and materials.
Thornton said the fines, which totaled $20,935, dealt with a lack of reporting procedures and investigations, not unsafe conditions. However, she said the corrections department is forming a work group to establish standard procedures to prevent staph and other skin infections at all prisons.
Staphylococcus aureus, sometimes called "staph," is a common bacterium found on the skin of healthy people that can cause minor to serious infections if it gets into the body. The bacteria that are resistant to some antibiotics are called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
Scott Lanphere, union president at Folsom Prison, said he believes that guards likely contract the strain from inmates, with whom they regularly come in contact.