Nursing Home Failed To Properly Protect Staff from COVID-19: OSHA

Facility failed to protect employees and temporary staff from possible coronavirus hazards a year after employee died of disease

By Dan Hounsell, Senior Editor
October 22, 2021

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration in July initiated a follow-up inspection at West Suburban Nursing and Rehabilitation Center LLC in Bloomingdale, Ill., under the National Emphasis Program for Coronavirus Disease 2019 and the Emergency Temporary Standard for Healthcare. The agency cited one repeat and five serious health violations and proposed $83,675 in penalties. In June 2020, an employee died after exposure to coronavirus.

OSHA determined West Suburban required employees to wear N95 filtering face piece respirators while entering the quarantine area and providing care to suspected coronavirus positive residents. But it failed to ensure proper use of respirators and fit test all employees to ensure an effective seal, as required.

"Simply wearing a respirator is not enough,” said OSHA Area Director Jake Scott. “Employers must ensure respirators fit correctly and maintain a face-to-face piece seal to ensure they protect the user from the spread of infectious diseases. After more than a year of fighting this pandemic, employers should know the procedures to minimize workers' risk of exposure and take every precaution."

OSHA also determined the facility failed to implement a hazard assessment process to evaluate for potential coronavirus exposure, track vaccination status of employees, erect barrier and control procedures to maintain 6 feet of distancing between employees at entry points and nursing stations, and control access to the quarantine zone by staff and patients.

West Suburban Nursing and Rehabilitation Center provides skilled nursing care and non-acute rehabilitation services.

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