CLEVELAND — Three Ohio nursing home facilities, one of which is in Akron, were cited by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration for violating respiratory protection standards following an inspection initiated after the company that owns them, OHNH EMP LLC, reported seven of its employees were hospitalized due to the coronavirus.
OSHA inspected three OHNH EMP facilities in Ohio:
- Pebble Creek Healthcare in Akron
- Salem West Healthcare Center in Salem
- Salem North Healthcare Center in Salem
Each facility was cited for a “serious” violation of two respiratory protection standards: failing to develop a comprehensive written respiratory protection program and failing to provide medical evaluations to determine employee’s ability to use a respirator in the workplace, the release stated.
OSHA recommended $40,482 in penalties. The agency also issued a Hazard Alert Letter regarding the company’s practice of allowing N95 respirator use for up to seven days and not conducting initial fit testing.
“OSHA’s investigation found that, although the company was making efforts to protect its employees from the coronavirus, it had not fully implemented an appropriate respiratory protection program,” said OSHA Cleveland Area Office Director Howard Eberts in a news release. “Employers are and will continue to be responsible for providing a workplace free of serious recognized hazards. In issuing this citation, OSHA relied on one of its preexisting standards that protect workers from the coronavirus.”
OHNH EMP has 15 days to comply, to request an informal conference with OSHA or contest the findings.