Unsafe and unhealthy work conditions were discovered during a recent inspection by officials with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The workplace in question was the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Officials recently concluded an investigation which was prompted by the death of a research associate that happened at the center's research laboratory in April of last year.
The center received notices, consisting of three serious violations. These violations included neglect in protecting workers who were researching Neisseria meningitides, which is a bacterium that can cause meningitis.
Our Los Angeles work injury lawyers understand that the victim in the fatal accident at that laboratory died because he was not properly being protected from the live bacteria he was working with. In these researcher efforts, the victim and his fellow researchers were inoculating the bacteria outside of a biosafety cabinet. A biosafety cabinet is to be used by anyone who is handling pathogens in a laboratory.
Research hospitals, as well as all types of medical centers, are required to make sure that its workers are protected from any kind of dangers on the job. Employers are required to eliminate exposure to dangerous materials and bacteria. The proper safety precautions can save lives. As a worker, you should be required with the proper safety equipment and with the proper training to help to keep yourself safe on the job. If you're not getting this protection, you're urged to speak up. You have a right to voice your concern about any threats you may encounter on the job.
The San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center was handed three serious violations. Within these violations, it was cited for neglecting to make sure that employees work with the proper safety enclosure while conducting microbiological work with a viable bacteria culture. They were also cited for neglecting to make sure that all workers were properly trained on how to recognize the symptoms and signs of illnesses resulting from overexposure to this kind of bacteria. Lastly, the center was cited for neglecting to provide to employees with the proper vaccines. When a center is slapped with a serious violation, it means that there was significant probably that serious injuries or death could have resulted from a hazard in which the employer knew about or should have known.
Bacteria can be found in workplaces in virtually all industries. I can be passed from one to another in a number of ways. It's critical for workers who work with bacteria to take all the proper safety precautions to make sure that the bacteria does not harm them. When working in hospitality, bacteria can be passed through food. In a healthcare setting, bacteria can be passed on through the transmission of blood.
Biological agents include bacteria, viruses, fungi, other microorganisms and their associated toxins. They have the ability to adversely affect human health in a variety of ways, ranging from relatively mild, allergic reactions to serious medical conditions, even death.