Nursing facility exposes workers to needlestick injuries, contaminated clothing
The Avalon Gardens Rehabilitation & Health Care Center Inc. in Smithtown earned 11 serious violations of workplace health and safety standards, with $41,000 in proposed penalties, following an inspection that was prompted by a complaint.
OSHA found that the facility failed to research and document the use of safer medical devices to reduce occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens arising from needlestick injuries. OSHA's bloodborne pathogen standard requires employers to consider and use safer medical devices, whenever possible. Such devices include those that are needleless or have built-in protection to guard workers against potential contamination.
(For more information on other bloodborne pathogens standards, visit https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/bloodbornepathogens/index.html.)
The facility also failed to provide eye protection for nurses, properly store and dispose of contaminated clothing and gloves and provide training to workers on proper disposal procedures. Additional violations cited include a wet floor due to an unconnected drain; an obstructed exit route; unmarked exit doors; lack of an eyewash station for workers using sanitizers; an exposed electrical panel; and improper storage of compressed gas cylinders.
Detailed information on hazards and safeguards for employees working in health care is available at https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/healthcarefacilities/index.html.
Avalon Gardens has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.