Home > Legal > MT: $58,300 in OSHA Fines, Including Electrical Hazards

MT: $58,300 in OSHA Fines, Including Electrical Hazards

Missoula, Montana: A janitorial company working in a Missoula nursing home has been cited with almost $60,000 worth of safety violations after exposing workers to multiple hazards, including failure to provide hepatitis B exposure prevention training to employees. Healthcare Services Group Inc. was issued five citations Aug. 7 from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration after inspections were opened in May at the Missoula Health and Rehabilitation Center.

Two “repeat” violations – for failing to make vaccinations for hepatitis B available and failing to provide training to employees on hazardous chemicals – carry $44,000 worth of fines. Healthcare Services was cited for similar violations in its Laurel facility and at a facility in Pueblo, Colo., in the past five years, an OSHA news release said.  The three other violations were classified as “serious,” and included not providing the correct training to prevent the spread of hepatitis B.

“Employers must protect workers who are occupationally exposed to blood or other potentially infectious materials,” Jeff Funke said in the OSHA news release. Funke is the director of OSHA’s Billings-area office. “This employer placed workers’ health at risk by not offering them required bloodborne pathogens training.”

The other serious violations were issued to Healthcare Group for failing to guard the belts and pulleys of a commercial dryer, and failing to cover the opening of an electrical junction box. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known, the OSHA news release said.

In all, the violations carry $58,300 in fines.  Inspections at Missoula Health and Rehabilitation Center were opened on May 21. Calls to the center, which is classified as a “skilled nursing home” in the OSHA news release, were referred to the company’s EmPres Healthcare corporate office.  A person answering phones at Healthcare Group’s Bensalem, Pa., office said the company would not comment on the citations.

Healthcare Group has 15 business days to respond to the citations. According to the OSHA news release, the company can comply with the citations, request an informal conference with OSHA’s Billings-area office or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Story via missoulian.com

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