OSHA cites Louisiana health system over employee PPE use

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Christus Shreveport (La.)-Bossier Health System for failing to protect employees during the pandemic, the agency announced Sept. 10. 

OSHA specifically cited the Catholic, nonprofit system for "failing to ensure employees wore proper protective equipment." The agency said it proposed $13,494 in penalties after finding that emergency facility employees often shared protective gowns that had already been used or did not have protective gowns to wear while providing patient care.

"Employers, especially those within the healthcare industry, must comply with existing standards to help ensure workers' safety amidst the coronavirus pandemic," OSHA Baton Rouge Area Director Roderic Chube said in a news release. "Healthcare workers must be provided proper personal protective equipment to limit the spread of the virus."

In a statement to Becker's Hospital Review, the health system said it is contesting the citation and the penalty, and remains ready to meet the needs of its service areas.

"COVID-safe care is our priority, and the safety and well-being of our associates is a constant focus as we navigate the changing guidelines and evolving scientific understanding of this new virus," Christus Shreveport-Bossier Health System said. "We have worked hard to secure the PPE we have needed to get us through many phases of the pandemic and maintain a local contingency supply of at least 10 days. Additionally, one of the benefits of being part of a large healthcare organization is that Christus Health, based in Irving, Texas also maintains an additional contingency supply of two and a half to six months at any given time, available to us in Shreveport-Bossier with a single phone call. To date, we have experienced no gaps in PPE supply during pandemic response.

"However, we recently received an OSHA complaint about the availability and proper use of PPE, as an associate felt they had not received proper training on appropriate utilization of PPE. We immediately responded by providing more training."

The health system said it remains focused on caring for patients and employees, and will continue to rely on current clinical best practices, CDC guidelines and the patient-centered care approaches it has historically used.

Christus Shreveport-Bossier Health System has more than 600 physicians and 1,800 employees. 


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Where hospital employees have tested positive for COVID-19: September
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