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FCI McDowell Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure

OSHA has announced that its January 2014 investigation of FCI McDowell (WV) found that “correctional officers and other staff” there were exposed to “bloodborne pathogens and other workplace safety and health hazards.” Ten serious violations, that is, those where “there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known,” were identified.  These include McDowell’s failure to:

  • Train employees on the bloodborne pathogens policy and limitations of personal protective equipment.
  • Ensure the person conducting training was knowledgeable about the subject.
  • Use puncture-resistant containers to transport contaminated shanks and other sharps.
  • Provide health care professionals, who evaluate an employee following an exposure, a copy of the bloodborne pathogens regulation, the exposed employee’s duties, documentation of the route of exposure or its circumstances, and medical records relevant to treatment of the employee.
  • Select and require puncture-resistant gloves while conducting pat-down operations.

According to EHS Today, “This was the first OSHA inspection of the McDowell facility, which houses 1,708 male prisoners.” Unsaid in OSHA’s news release is whether the agency identified any risks to prisoners housed at McDowell.

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