OSHA cites 2 New Jersey providers over mask protocols

Two providers in New Jersey were cited by the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration after an investigation determined they didn't ensure nurses safely used respirators while administering flu shots and COVID-19 tests.

Medical facility Lakewood Resource and Referral Center and temporary staffing agency Homecare Therapies "failed to protect vital frontline healthcare workers from exposure to the coronavirus," Paula Dixon-Roderick, OSHA area office director, said in an Aug. 4 news release.

OSHA began investigating Lakewood Resource and Referral Center in January and found the center didn't provide medical evaluations to determine if employees could appropriately use respirators before requiring their use. The center didn't fit test employees for respirators either, according OSHA, which levied a $273,064 fine against the organization.

Investigators reported similar findings against Homecare Therapies, which contracted with Lakewood Resource and Referral Center. OSHA fined the staffing agency $13,653.

The organizations can contest the findings. 

The citations come as OSHA is increasing focus on providers' compliance with COVID-19 workplace safety rules. The rules, released June 10, require healthcare employers give workers paid time off to get vaccinated and to recover from any side effects. 

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