Illinois Healthcare Center Fined $83.6K for Lack of Coronavirus Protections

Federal workplace safety officials say a Bloomingdale, Illinois, nursing facility failed to protect employees and temporary staff from possible coronavirus hazards a year after an employee died of the disease.

OSHA initiated a follow-up inspection at West Suburban Nursing and Rehabilitation Center LLC on July 28, 2021, under the National Emphasis Program for Coronavirus Disease 2019 and the Emergency Temporary Standard for Healthcare. The federal agency cited one repeat and five serious health violations and proposed $83,675 in penalties.

In June 2020, an employee died after exposure to coronavirus.

OSHA determined West Suburban required employees to wear N95 filtering face piece respirators while entering the quarantine area and providing care to suspected coronavirus positive residents. However, it failed to ensure proper use of respirators and fit test all employees to ensure an effective seal, as required.

“Simply wearing a respirator is not enough. Employers must ensure respirators fit correctly and maintain a face-to-face piece seal to ensure they protect the user from the spread of infectious diseases,” OSHA Area Director Jake Scott in Naperville said in a media release. “After more than a year of fighting this pandemic, employers should know the procedures to minimize workers’ risk of exposure and take every precaution.”

OSHA also determined the facility failed to implement a hazard assessment process to evaluate for potential coronavirus exposure, track vaccination status of employees, erect barrier and control procedures to maintain 6 feet of distancing between employees at entry points and nursing stations, and control access to the quarantine zone by staff and patients.

West Suburban Nursing and Rehabilitation Center provides skilled nursing care and non-acute rehabilitation services.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

This article was first published in Insurance Journal.

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