OSHA Cites Ambulance Service for Bloodborne Pathogen Hazards

March 11, 2004

A Buffalo, NY 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 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.

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.

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.

Fatality at Cannery Leads to OSHA Citations

OSHA has cited the Allen Canning Company for failing to protect workers from safety hazards that contributed to the death of an employee at the company's Moorhead, Miss., cannery.

OSHA's investigation reports that a maintenance worker was electrocuted on Sept. 11,2003, while working with new wiring inside an energized electrical panel. The worker reportedly was not wearing insulated gloves or using insulated tools at the time of the fatal accident.

OSHA issued 20 alleged serious violations with proposed penalties totaling $59,000. Alleged violations directly related to the accident include allowing employees to work on energized electrical lines and failing to provide proper equipment for workers. The company was also cited for other serious hazards, including failing to provide employees with hearing protection, a lack of fall protection, failure to guard machinery parts and electrical violations unrelated to the accident.

OSHA also issued 11 alleged repeat violations with $170,000 in proposed penalties. Hazards included failure to install seatbelts in forklifts, as well as failure to train employees to use procedures to render machinery inoperable during maintenance and repair.

The company has 15 working days to contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

OSHA issues serious citations when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. Repeat citations are issued when the employer had been cited previously for substantially similar conditions.

In fiscal year 2003, the Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted almost 40,000 inspections, an increase of more than 2,000 inspections over FY 2002 levels; more than half focused on high-hazard industries.

OSHA Announces New Alliance To Promote Job Safety For Hispanic Employers And Workers

Improving workplace safety and health for Hispanic workers is the goal of a new alliance between OSHA and the New York Metropolitan Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers (Metro ASSE).

The five OSHA area offices participating in the alliance are in Avenel, Long Island, Bayside, Manhattan, and Tarrytown.

"This alliance with the Metro ASSE is an example of Secretary Elaine L. Chao's commitment to find cooperative ways to improve health and safety for all workers," said Patricia K. Clark, OSHA's regional administrator in New York. "It will enlist the help of experienced safety and health professionals to promote a culture of safety."

Through their alliance, OSHA and the Metro ASSE will develop training in Spanish targeted to Hispanic workers. Hispanics suffered a national total of 840 fatal work injuries in 2002. Offerings will include OSHA's 10- and 30-hour construction and general industry courses in Spanish, through the use of ASSE and OSHA Spanish-speaking trainers.

The participants will also develop workplace safety and health curricula on the proper selection and use of personal protective equipment (PPE). ASSE will organize and work with their members to deliver general PPE, such as head protection and eye protection to Hispanic participants upon their completion of an OSHA 10- or 30-hour course.

"This alliance will equip Hispanic workers with the tools and know-how to recognize and avoid unsafe conditions or to protect themselves against hazardous conditions encountered in their workplaces," said Diana Cortez, OSHA's Tarrytown area director and regional Hispanic coordinator.

OSHA and AGMAUSA Form Alliance to Provide Training in Spanish

Improving workplace safety and health for Hispanic workers in the Long Island area is the goal of a new alliance between OSHA and the Asociacion de Guatemaltecos- Morazanecos Ausentes en USA (AGMAUSA).

OSHA health and safety alliances are part of Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao's ongoing efforts to improve the health and safety of workers through cooperative partnerships.

"This alliance will equip Hispanic workers with the necessary tools to recognize and avoid unsafe conditions, and to protect themselves against hazardous conditions in their workplaces," said Diana Cortez, OSHA's Tarrytown area director and regional Hispanic coordinator.

The Long Island Area Office of OSHA and AGMAUSA will develop Spanish-language training and education programs covering safety and health issues in industrial workplaces and construction sites. Training will include OSHA's 10- and 30-hour construction and general industry courses in Spanish.

Using print and electronic media, OSHA and AGMAUSA will develop workplace safety and health curricula, including electronic assistance tools and links from OSHA's Web site. A Web site for AGMAUSA is also being planned.

AGMAUSA is a community-based organization serving the Guatemalan community in the Long Island area. The organization provides assistance to Guatemalans and other Hispanics with immigration, housing, employment, document translations, health and nutrition issues. The association is preparing an English-as-a- second-language course, as well as training seminars on employment topics such as how to complete a job application, interviewing skills and worker rights. The association is currently composed of 100 members and is quickly growing.

Since 2001, the Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has created more than 160 alliances with organizations committed to fostering safety and health in the workplace.

OSHA Welcomes Kellogg, Brown and Root to Voluntary Protection Program

OSHA formally welcomed Kellogg, Brown and Root's Fort Huachuca Project into OSHA's Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) at a ceremony Thursday, March 11, 2004.

"It is an honor to recognize the exemplary health and safety record of this employer," said Frank Strasheim, OSHA's regional administrator in San Francisco. "KBR clearly sets a high priority on safety and health and has consistently demonstrated excellence and leadership in workplace safety at the Fort Huachuca Project."

KBR provides facilities support and management services at the Fort Huachuca Army Base. The company's employees and three sub-contractors plan and manage logistical functions on the base, including refueling airplanes, warehousing, supply, maintenance, fabrication, receiving and tracking hazardous materials, and shipping household goods for military personnel.

KBR's cumulative rate of injuries and illnesses for the last three years is less than half the national average for the industry and its record of lost work time due to health and safety issues is well below national averages. There were no incidents reported in 2003. The company supports an aggressive Corrective Action Request system, which encourages employees to note and report workplace hazards, stop unsafe actions when necessary, and submit suggestions to improve the safety of work processes.

The Voluntary Protection Program promotes effective worksite-based safety and health. In the VPP, management, labor, and OSHA establish cooperative relationships at workplaces that have implemented a comprehensive safety and health management system. Acceptance into VPP is OSHA's official recognition of the outstanding efforts of employers and employees who have implemented exemplary safety and health management systems.

There are 1,036 work sites nationwide in the VPP, representing 208 industries. Companies in OSHA's Voluntary Protection Program achieve average injury rates 50 percent lower than other companies in their industry.