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Region 3 News Release: 14-1441-PHI (osha 14-070)
Aug. 12, 2014
Contact: Joanna Hawkins      Leni Fortson
Phone: 215-861-5101      215-861-5102
Email: hawkins.joanna@dol.gov      uddyback-fortson.lenore@dol.gov

OSHA issues notice to McDowell federal prison after workers exposed to
bloodborne pathogens

WELCH, W. Va. – A January 2014 investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration revealed that correctional officers and other staff at McDowell medium-security federal prison in Welch were allegedly exposed to bloodborne pathogens and other workplace safety and health hazards. OSHA issued notices to the Federal Correctional Institution at McDowell, a part of the U.S. Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Prisons.

"Federal prison employees are often exposed to blood or other potentially infectious materials. It is imperative that employers take every reasonable precaution to protect these workers against these types of safety and health hazards," said Prentice Cline, director of OSHA's Charleston Area Office.

Ten serious violations were identified, including the agency's failure to:

  • Train employees on the bloodborne pathogens policy and limitations of personal protective equipment.
  • Ensure the person conducting training was knowledgeable about the subject.
  • Use puncture-resistant containers to transport contaminated shanks and other sharps.
  • Provide health care professionals, who evaluate an employee following an exposure, a copy of the bloodborne pathogens regulation, the exposed employee's duties, documentation of the route of exposure or its circumstances, and medical records relevant to treatment of the employee.
  • Select and require puncture-resistant gloves while