NEWPORT – North Country Hospital (NCH) is in the midst of dealing with operating issues involving employee safety in the laundry area. Hospital personnel have been working diligently to address the violations raised by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
“The most important thing is to keep employees protected and make sure they are not exposed or injured,” hospital CEO Claudio Fort said in an interview Monday. The hospital was aware of the problems it needed to address prior to the OSHA inspection, and had formed a team to address the issues. But a former employee filed an official complaint. The hospital is facing up to $42,000 in fines for the violations; some of which are considered serious. The hospital has contested each violation, not because they necessarily feel they are inaccurate, but because they need more time to fix the problems. OSHA gave NCH until Thanksgiving Day to respond. Some hospital staff members are working almost non-stop and worked right through the holiday to address the issues.
The complaint to OSHA involved some employees who had been exposed to blood borne pathogens and human waste in the environmental services department as well as the laundry area.
Please see The Newport Daily Express Tuesday for the complete story.