OSHA Alleges Health, Safety Violations at W. Va. VA Hospital

January 10, 2008

Federal inspectors found three alleged health and safety violations at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center near Martinsburg, W. Va., including two deemed serious.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration issued a notice of unsafe and unhealthful working conditions on Dec. 27 to the hospital.

OSHA said the serious violations involved employees’ use of respirators when they are exposed to paint vapors, mold, tuberculosis or other hazards.

OSHA said the hospital did not give employees sufficient training and information to ensure that they were aware of the respirators’ limitations. Workers also were not given an odor threshold test to ensure that their respirator masks fit properly.

The third violation alleged that the hospital failed to provide employees timely access to their medical records.

Medical center spokeswoman Barbara B. Corbin said the hospital was working to correct the problems.

“This is an issue that we are very, very concerned about, and we want to do the right thing,” Corbin said Tuesday.

Corbin said the alleged violations were partly related to the removal of mold discovered in two mechanical rooms in October 2006.

OSHA gave the hospital until Jan. 24 to correct the serious violations, unless it seeks an informal conference with the U.S. Department of Labor within 15 days of receiving the notice. The records violation must be corrected by Wednesday.

The alleged violations were found during an inspection on Nov. 21 and Nov. 22.

Information from: The (Hagerstown, Md.) Herald-Mail, http://www.herald-mail.com

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