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Recent OSHA Inspections and Citations

Posted: February 14, 2014

In its recent statistical report, OSHA noted nine funeral home inspections:  six of the inspections were based on employee complaints, one was a follow-up inspection and two were listed as planned inspections. Three inspections were conducted in Virginia, two in South Carolina, and one each in Oregon, Washington, Pennsylvania and California. Only two of the nine funeral homes inspected were issued citations and penalties.

Virginia Funeral Home #1: Three Serious Violations

  • An apparent violation of an electrical standard which governs electrical equipment operating at 600 volts and working spaces in relation to live electrical parts. This serious violation carried an aggregate penalty of $525 that, as a result of an informal settlement, was reduced to $367.
  • A violation of an electrical standard related to wiring methods
  • A violation of section of the electrical standard related to conductors entering boxes, cabinets or electrical fittings.
  • While OSHA's report did not go into the exact circumstances that led to the violations, the type of citations issued suggests a possible relationship to crematory equipment.

Virginia Funeral Home #3: Seven Serious Violations

The inspection of this funeral home was conducted because of a complaint. It yielded seven serious alleged violations with a total penalty of $2,625. Citations were related to:

  • A violation of the section of the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard dealing with the establishment of a written exposure control plan. This violation was assessed a penalty of $525.
  • The Formaldehyde Standard. The aggregate penalty for these violations of the Formaldehyde Standard was $2100.
    • Failure to conduct initial monitoring of all employees who may be exposed at or above the short term exposure limit.
    • Failure to establish regulated areas where the concentration of airborne formaldehyde exceeds either the eight-hour time weighted average or the short term exposure limit and to post signs warning of the formaldehyde danger at all entrances.
    • Failure to fully comply with the obligation to implement a respiratory protection program that meets the requirements of the OSHA Respiratory Protection Standard.
    • Failure to institute a medical surveillance program for all employees exposed to formaldehyde at concentrations at or exceeding the action level or exceeding the short term exposure limit.
      • Failure to comply with the portion of that standard requiring employers to meet all requirements of the Hazard Communication Standard applicable to formaldehyde.
    • Failure to ensure that all employees who are assigned to workplaces where there is exposure to formaldehyde participate in a training program. (Employees are not required to participate in training if the employer can show that employees are not exposed to formaldehyde at or above .1 parts per million.)

It is clear that OSHA has funeral homes on its radar and inspectors are finding serious violations of the standards with which funeral home must comply. NFDA strongly urges you to review the OSHA standards that apply to funeral homes.

For more information on these standards and compliance requirements, visit the NFDA website or call the free NFDA OSHA Hotline. The hotline can assist with nearly all inquiries. NFDA members can also call NFDA OSHA Counsel Edward M. Ranier with OSHA-related legal questions at 410-967-1812.

The OSHA website also has a number of resources to help small businesses comply with its various regulations.