Safety

California hospital fined after workers stabbed by waste needles

Hospital Safety Insider, December 10, 2015

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Kaiser Foundation Hospital in Vallejo, California was recently cited and fined almost $150,000 by California's OSHA for safety violations after inadequate safety practices resulted in workers being stabbed by needles on multiple occasions, according to a December 8 report from Healthcare Finance News.

The report said at least three custodial employees over the past three years have been stuck by needles while emptying the hospital's collection box for biomedical waste, and that the box was prone to overflowing and preventing the lid from closing properly. Two of those incidents occurred this year, prompting a call to OSHA in June.

Kaiser was cited for five workplace safety violations of the Bloodborne Pathogens standard, and at least two violations were classified as "willful serious," meaning evidence showed the hospital was aware of an issue but essentially did nothing to fix it, the report said.

Investigators found that the box was typically cleaned using a broom and dustpan. When those tools proved inadequate, employees had to reach into the box to remove spilled waste, even though needles were often deposited without a protective cap, the report said. The hospital reportedly replaced the kiosk with two larger disposal units after the inspection and the units are now monitored every 30 minutes.

Read more here.



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