OSHA has fined a medical devices sterilization company in Waukegan, Ill., $117,000 for repeat and serious violations of federal workplace safety standards.
As the result of a safety and health inspection conducted last August, the agency has issued Steris Isomedix Services citations for three repeat violations, with proposed penalties of $62,500. These violations include failing to provide adequate protection, training, monitoring and emergency plans regarding employee exposure to ethylene oxide (EtO), a dangerous, colorless gas used in the sterilization process.
The company was also cited for 12 serious violations, with proposed penalties of $54,500. These include failure to:
• address hazards associated with exposures to EtO;
• implement engineering controls to lower employee exposure to EtO levels exceeding OSHA's permissible exposure limits;
• provide baseline medical examinations for employees prior to working with EtO; and
• address the absence of guardrails on platforms and scaffolding.
Steris Isomedix Services employs 37 people in Waukegan. It is a subsidiary of Steris Corp., headquartered in Mentor, Ohio, which employs 5,000 people companywide. Previously, OSHA inspected the company five times between 1999 and 2006 at various locations.
Medical devices firm fined after allowing ethylene oxide exposures (2/8)
February 8, 2008