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Recent public interest in Ebola could serve as a reminder that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates exposure to bloodborne pathogens, including hepatitis B, hepatitis C and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This standard applies primarily to workers such as first responders, nurses and other health care personnel, as well as some housekeeping personnel, but it could be applicable in a variety of industries.
Stafford Transport Inc., a solid waste removal trucking company based in Mableton, Ga., discovered this when OSHA cited the company for safety and health violations including not providing a hepatitis B vaccine to employees who could potentially be exposed to bloodborne pathogens.
The employer was fined $20,000 for not providing the vaccine to workers with potential exposure within 10 working days of the initial assignment. Stafford Transport did not record whether the employees had previously been vaccinated.
In addition, the company was fined $20,000 for allowing workers to perform maintenance without conducting annual inspections of energy control procedures meant to protect workers from moving machine parts during servicing work.
OSHA also cited Stafford Transport for one serious violation for failure to train workers to operate a forklift. That citation carries a penalty of $3,000. Other violations included failing to conduct an annual review of the written bloodborne pathogens program and not training employees on the new hazard communication labeling requirements.
OSHA initiated the inspection at the company’s Mableton facility in July 2014 as part of the agency’s Site-Specific Targeting Program, which directs enforcement resources to workplaces with higher-than-average rates of injuries and illnesses.
Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.
Follow him @SHRMRoy
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