Ambulance Service Cited By OSHA

Ambulance service in Illinois was fined $290,000 by OSHA for willful exposure of bloodborne pathogens to employees.Ambulance Service may seem an essential part of a city’s healthcare provisions, but they aren’t out of the reach of OSHA when dealing with employee health risks.

On July 6, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a variety of charges against Altamont Ambulance Service Inc., an ambulance and paramedic service based out of Altamont, Illinois. According to a July 7th news release, issued by OSHA, Altamont Ambulance Service Inc. was found to have “failed in following specific guidelines to protect emergency healthcare workers from exposure to blood-borne pathogens and other hazards while providing patient care.”

Among those violations issued by OSHA were, 5 willful, 16 serious, and 3 other-than-serious safety and health violations. Those violations carried a proposed cumulative penalty of $290,100. Initial inspections into Altamont Ambulance’s operations began in January of 2016, following a complaint, indicating violations of OSHAs regulatory standards, regarding blood-borne pathogens. Aaron Priddy, OSHA area director for the Fairview Heights office, said, “Altamont Ambulance Service has a responsibility to protect both its patients and staff from injury and illness during procedures, and to keep its workers safe at its facility.”

A brief listing of some of the violations issued:

  • Failure to establish an exposure control plan for blood-borne pathogens and other potentially infectious material
  • Failure to train workers about chemical and blood-borne pathogen hazards and precautions
  • Failure to develop an emergency response plan
  • Failure to train workers in operations-level emergency responses
  • Failure to develop a respiratory protection program
  • Failure to train workers about the use of hazardous chemicals in work areas
  • Failure to log injury and illnesses for inspectors, within four-hour time frame
  • Lack of clearly marked emergency exits
  • Failure to train workers in the use of fire extinguishers

A complete listing of all violations filed by OSHA in this case may be found in their initial news release.

The threat of hazardous chemical exposure, particularly when handling any material which may contain blood-borne pathogens, is serious. A comprehensive hazard training course is important for employers and employees dealing with such potential exposure.

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