The Hartford health center that came under fire in February after not immediately disclosing that a patient with tuberculosis died has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
OSHA began investigating Charter Oak Health Center Inc. in Hartford in February after receiving a complaint that employees had been exposed to a patient with tuberculosis and that the center’s management failed to take appropriate action to protect workers.
The center has been cited for three alleged serious violations of workplace health standards involving inadequate safeguards for employees exposed to tuberculosis and other infectious diseases and investigators proposed $17,600 in fines.
OSHA issued a news release on Tuesday stating that the violations include the center’s failure to have a system in place that promptly identifies, masks and isolates patients with suspected tuberculosis; and its failure to provide workers who had face-to-face contact with suspected or confirmed tuberculosis patients with training on the disease and a respiratory protection program.
OSHA also said the center lacked a hazard communication program and hazardous chemical training.
“Employees were needlessly exposed to a potentially contagious infection due to the lackof basic protective measures that should have been in place,” said Robert Kowalski, OSHA’s acting area director in Hartford. “An effective infectious control program would have established procedures and provided training and protective equipment to workers to minimize their exposure to tuberculosis and other infectious diseases.”
Charter Oak Health Center Inc. has 15 business days to comply, meet with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, according to OSHA.
In March, Charter Oak Health Center was placed on probation for two years as part of a consent order with the state.
During the probation period, the state will continue to monitor the care and services of patients.