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OSHA Update: Recent Funeral Home Inspections and Penalties

Posted August 25, 2011

A review of recent OSHA inspection, data indicates that several funeral homes were inspected and violations and penalties were issued:

1. An inspection of a New York funeral home resulted in a serious violation of the Bloodborne Pathogen Standard and a violation related to the requirement that warning labels be affixed to containers of hazardous chemicals. The original penalty was $3,500 and was reduced to $2,100 at an informal conference.

2. Citations were issued against an Illinois funeral home for three serious violations with a total penalty of $7,650, which was later reduced to $3,570. The first violation involved the regulated waste containment section of the Bloodborne Pathogen Standard (containers must be closable, constructed to prevent leakage and labeled or color-coded). The other violations involved the Formaldehyde Standard; it appears that the employer failed to comply with the requirements related to employee exposure determination and emergency eye wash facilities.

3. A citation – three serious violations and three other-than-serious violations – was issued in North Carolina against a funeral home following a complaint. The total penalty was $700.

The serious violations involved the Bloodborne Pathogen Standard. The employer apparently violated requirements involving exposure determination, the written exposure control plan and the requirement to solicit input from non-managerial employees in the identification, evaluation and selection of effective engineering and work practice controls related to contaminated sharps (the solicitation must be documented in the exposure control plan).

The other-than-serious violations included: a failure to conduct and document a workplace hazard assessment, a failure to properly document employee training under the Bloodborne Pathogen Standard and a failure under the Hazard Communication Standard to provide appropriate hazard warnings regarding the physical health hazards of chemicals to which employees are exposed.

This is further evidence that OSHA is actively inspecting funeral homes. All NFDA members should ensure that they are in compliance with all OSHA standards that apply to funeral homes. For more information on these standards and compliance requirements, visit the NFDA website or call the NFDA OSHA Hotline at 800-633-2674 for a complimentary consultation. 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.