A New Jersey outpatient surgery center is facing a steep fine of $68,000 after agents for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) discovered serious violations during an inspection. The infractions involved the possible transmission of blood-borne diseases via dirty needles.
According The Record, an online state news source, CTO Management LLC, which operates under Health East Ambulatory Surgical Center, failed to adhere to health and safety violations which may have put the lives of one employee at risk. OSHA discovered that doctors failed to advise a worker who was poked with a contaminated needle, did not administer a blood test within a reasonable time frame and did not provide medicine to ward off disease caused by any infection.
"If an employee is stuck with a needle, they must be afforded appropriate follow-up medical care to minimize any potential effect," Lisa Levy, director of OSHA's office in Hasbrouck Heights, said in the statement.
Englewood-based Health East Ambulatory Surgical centers offers individuals same-day surgery on various parts of the body including the jaw, mouth and spine.
The company has the option of selecting three different courses of action to take. It can pay the $68,000 fine and accept the citations, request a meeting with local OSHA officials or go through the appeals process. It has yet to determine how it will remedy the situation.
Because needles can break through certain types of protective clothing, OSHA recommends that companies purchase what is known as a "safe needle device." These have built-in controls that can lessen the likelihood of a needle stick injury. Although it's unlikely to expect these instruments to eliminate all hazards, they can certainly reduce the chance of contracting HIV, Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B from accidents associated with needle exposure.
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