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Recent OSHA Inspections Show Focus on Bloodborne Pathogens Compliance

Posted: September 20, 2013

OSHA's latest statistical report included information about a number of funeral home inspections in recent months. Several funeral homes were issued violations, some of which included monetary penalties of $1,250 or more.

  • On June 17, OSHA conducted an inspection of a funeral home in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico, which was the result of an employee complaint. The funeral home was issued a "serious violation" with a penalty of $1,250 for an alleged violation of the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard (1910.1030). In particular, the funeral home apparently failed to meet the requirement that all employees who have occupational exposure to Hepatitis B must be vaccinated after the he or she has received training and within 10 days of initial their assignment. The only exception to this requirement is if an employee has previously received the complete Hepatitis B vaccination series, if antibody testing has revealed that the employee is immune to Hepatitis B or if the vaccine is contraindicated for medical reasons.
      
    • As the result of an OSHA inspection conducted on June 24 at a funeral home in Las Vegas, Nev., an "other than serious violation" was issued because the employer failed to meet the requirement that portable fire extinguishers be mounted, located and identified in such a way that they are readily accessible to employees (1910.157).
        
  • On June 25, OSHA conducted an inspection of a funeral home in Morgantown, N.C. This inspection resulted in two "serious violations" of the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard. The two apparent violations were for failing to provide Hepatitis B vaccinations to all employees who have occupational exposure and for failing to maintain an accurate vaccination records for each employee with occupational exposure (part of the recordkeeping section of the standard). The initial total penalty of $2,750 was later reduced to $1,925. No penalty was issued for the recordkeeping violation.

In addition to these inspections, during the period of June 17-September 14, OSHA inspected three funeral homes in Virginia, one in Puerto Rico and one in New Mexico. No violations were issued to these firms.

The inspection in Puerto Rico, a referral inspection, was terminated because the funeral home had gone out of business. The New Mexico inspection was listed as a "program inspection"; it is unclear which special emphasis program prompted the inspection. The Virginia inspections were all listed as planned inspections.

It is clear that OSHA is paying special attention to compliance with the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard. All NFDA members should review the requirements of the standard and make sure they are in full compliance. You can learn more about OSHA compliance by visiting the NFDA website; NFDA members may also call the OSHA Hotline for free advice and consultations.