Corona Regional Medical Centre has recently been cited by the Division of Occupational Safety & Health (known as DOSH or Cal/OSHA) for failing to notify workers regarding the presence of hazardous asbestos. OSHA cited the medical centre also for having procedural and training gaps for how workers should deal with exposure to airborne biological agents or diseases.
Cal/OSHA issued the citations for 3 violations. The 1st one was issued on 17th December for failing to properly alert workers regarding the presence of asbestos-containing materials at the defendant’s facility. The medical center was then cited on 5th August for 2 violations for failing to have a plan’s elements in place for dealing with likely exposure to airborne biological agents or diseases as part of a program to prevent injuries and illnesses, according to the citations’ copies.
Contractors have been dealing with asbestos present at the facility in a sealed-off portion, said Peter Melton, a spokesman representing the Cal/OSHA.
In both the cases, DOSH investigated after it received several complaints. The medical centre was issued a fine of $700 for the 1st violation. For the remaining 2 violations DOSH issued a fine of $755 against the hospital.
Nurses at the hospital have blamed the working conditions and patient safety at the facility.
The asbestos issue was exposed during the $23 million renovation project at the hospital. The presence of asbestos at buildings constructed prior to the 1980s is not a surprise because it was a very popular construction material then, said Linda Pearson, a spokeswoman representing the hospital.
Pearson said the issues were remediated as well as inspected as and when they were discovered in order to ensure that there’re no present as well as future risks to employees, patients and their families. She said Corona would keep on working with DOSH to ensure that their corrective measures are complete as well as approved.
According to Melton, the cited violations should be corrected or challenged by 7th and 31st of this month.
Asbestos is a notorious carcinogen which had been widely used as a building material until the 1980s. The hazards associated with asbestos exposure were not completely known then. Then it became a highly regulated material. Asbestos is made up of small fibers which can be airborne when it is broken or disturbed. These fibers could be breathed in easily. Inhaled asbestos fibers can cause terminal diseases including cancer, which usually appears after several decades.