St. Mary of Nazareth Hospital Fined for Mishandling Chemical Spill

OSHA Penalty is Fourth in One Year for Resurrection Health Care



Mar 30, 2007, 01:00 ET from HEART/AFSCME

    CHICAGO, March 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- For the fourth time in the
 past year, a Resurrection Health Care hospital has been cited for
 violations and fined by the federal Occupational Safety and Health
 Administration (OSHA). The new citations, issued on March 23, stem from an
 October incident at St. Mary of Nazareth Hospital in which formaldehyde was
 spilled.
     OSHA fined St. Mary of Nazareth, one of eight Chicago-area hospitals
 operated by Resurrection Health Care (RHC), for failure to contain the
 spill, decontaminate the work area, and dispose of the waste. Among other
 violations, the hospital was also cited for failure to provide acceptable
 emergency wash facilities within the immediate work area of employees at
 risk for chemical exposure.
     OSHA determined "the employer did not ensure that appropriate
 procedures were adopted to minimize injury and loss of life and implemented
 in the event of an emergency." As a result of the findings, the hospital
 received six serious citations and was fined $13,000.
     The health and safety violations at St. Mary of Nazareth Hospital are
 just the latest in a recurring pattern at Resurrection Health Care
 facilities. St. Francis Hospital, St. Elizabeth Hospital, Westlake
 Hospital, and the chain's flagship Resurrection Medical Center have all
 been cited and fined by OSHA since 2003.
     "The irresponsibility of administrators at St. Mary's and its corporate
 parent, Resurrection Health Care, endangers both patients and employees,"
 said Henry Bayer, executive director of the American Federation of State,
 County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 31.
     "It is extremely disturbing that Resurrection did not ensure that these
 minimal protective measures were in place," Bayer said, "particularly in
 light of the fact that the health care chain had been cited previously by
 OSHA for similar negligence regarding chemical safety at one of its other
 hospitals."
     In findings issued January 19th of this year, St. Francis Hospital,
 another RHC facility, received six serious citations and was fined $25,000
 for its inadequate emergency response plan and failure to notify workers of
 potential health hazards after a mercury spill incident. In May 2006, St.
 Francis received eight serious citations and nearly $10,000 in fines for
 failing to properly train laundry employees who were exposed to infectious
 materials and hazardous chemicals.
     The investigations were prompted by workers who filed OSHA complaints
 anonymously, for fear of retaliation by Resurrection Health Care.
     "We commend the employees who came forward as whistleblowers to alert
 OSHA in hopes of preventing future unsafe practices by St. Mary's and
 Resurrection management," Bayer said.
     Seeking to improve their working conditions and enhance the quality of
 patient care, employees at Resurrection hospitals are working to form a
 union with AFSCME Council 31.
 
 

SOURCE HEART/AFSCME
    CHICAGO, March 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- For the fourth time in the
 past year, a Resurrection Health Care hospital has been cited for
 violations and fined by the federal Occupational Safety and Health
 Administration (OSHA). The new citations, issued on March 23, stem from an
 October incident at St. Mary of Nazareth Hospital in which formaldehyde was
 spilled.
     OSHA fined St. Mary of Nazareth, one of eight Chicago-area hospitals
 operated by Resurrection Health Care (RHC), for failure to contain the
 spill, decontaminate the work area, and dispose of the waste. Among other
 violations, the hospital was also cited for failure to provide acceptable
 emergency wash facilities within the immediate work area of employees at
 risk for chemical exposure.
     OSHA determined "the employer did not ensure that appropriate
 procedures were adopted to minimize injury and loss of life and implemented
 in the event of an emergency." As a result of the findings, the hospital
 received six serious citations and was fined $13,000.
     The health and safety violations at St. Mary of Nazareth Hospital are
 just the latest in a recurring pattern at Resurrection Health Care
 facilities. St. Francis Hospital, St. Elizabeth Hospital, Westlake
 Hospital, and the chain's flagship Resurrection Medical Center have all
 been cited and fined by OSHA since 2003.
     "The irresponsibility of administrators at St. Mary's and its corporate
 parent, Resurrection Health Care, endangers both patients and employees,"
 said Henry Bayer, executive director of the American Federation of State,
 County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 31.
     "It is extremely disturbing that Resurrection did not ensure that these
 minimal protective measures were in place," Bayer said, "particularly in
 light of the fact that the health care chain had been cited previously by
 OSHA for similar negligence regarding chemical safety at one of its other
 hospitals."
     In findings issued January 19th of this year, St. Francis Hospital,
 another RHC facility, received six serious citations and was fined $25,000
 for its inadequate emergency response plan and failure to notify workers of
 potential health hazards after a mercury spill incident. In May 2006, St.
 Francis received eight serious citations and nearly $10,000 in fines for
 failing to properly train laundry employees who were exposed to infectious
 materials and hazardous chemicals.
     The investigations were prompted by workers who filed OSHA complaints
 anonymously, for fear of retaliation by Resurrection Health Care.
     "We commend the employees who came forward as whistleblowers to alert
 OSHA in hopes of preventing future unsafe practices by St. Mary's and
 Resurrection management," Bayer said.
     Seeking to improve their working conditions and enhance the quality of
 patient care, employees at Resurrection hospitals are working to form a
 union with AFSCME Council 31.
 
 SOURCE HEART/AFSCME