OSHA COMPLIANCE IS CRITICAL
State workplace safety regulators fined the operator of Northridge Hospital Medical Center about $44,125 for violations that potentially exposed the hospital’s 1,700 employees to non-compliance health hazards.
Dignity Health was cited after Cal/OSHA determined that the hospital failed to record information in over a dozen cases where hospital workers were stuck with needles, and failed to provide closeable containers in emergency rooms that would keep biohazard waste from spilling, according to the state agency.
Northridge Hospital said in a statement that it is working “diligently” to address the agency’s findings.
“We have a longstanding relationship with Cal/OSHA and appreciate the regulatory body working with us to ensure the safety of our employees,” according to the hospital.
Cal/OSHA’s Van Nuys office opened an investigation in June after receiving a complaint, resulting in 13 health code violations, regulators said.
“California’s health and safety requirements are some of the strongest in the nation, and they’re meant to prevent hospital workers from becoming hospital patients,” Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum said.
The findings included violations of bloodborne pathogens precautions, which require employers to protect workers from coming into contact with blood or other disease-carrying body fluids, according to Cal/OSHA.
Cal/OSHA also issued general and regulatory violations because Dignity Health kept broken gurneys in the working area, skipped essential elements of training employees in safe patient handling, and failed to take corrective action after accidents occurred, regulators said.
In summary, there were four serious violations of the bloodborne pathogens standard, which requires employers to protect workers from coming into contact with blood or other disease-carrying body fluids. A serious violation is cited when there is a realistic possibility that death or serious harm could result from the actual hazardous condition. In this case, the serious violations included:
• Failure to gather information required by the Sharps injury log, such as type and brand of needles involved in the 18 injury cases. The employer had no procedure in place to review the log, or to solicit required input from employees about factors contributing to contaminated needle injuries. Well-kept injury logs, and their regular review, help to identify the causes of injuries and prevent future occurrences.
• Failure to provide containers that would prevent spillage or protrusion of contaminated needles in emergency treatment and trauma rooms. Additionally, the employer did not provide readily accessible hand washing facilities for emergency room employees.
• Failure to provide appropriate sizes of gloves for employees using the medication cart in the trauma room and the after-hours intake area.
Cal/OSHA also issued eight general and regulatory violations because Dignity Health kept broken gurneys in the working area, skipped essential elements of training employees in safe patient handling, and failed to take corrective action after accidents occurred.
Sources: Northridge-Chatsworth Patch, stateofreform.com
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