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Hospital waste in hotel poses workplace injury hazard

On behalf of Jeffrey Frederick of Frederick & Hagle posted in Workplace Injuries on Thursday, November 19, 2015.

Illinois workers are commonly exposed to the hazards typical of the industries in which they are employed. However, in some cases, employers may not recognize additional risks that are unfamiliar to their particular industries. An example of such circumstances is a hotel in another state that received a citation for safety risks that are typically associated with health care facilities. Regardless of unusual circumstances, business owners remain responsible for addressing all hazards that could cause a workplace injury.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently completed an investigation into allegations by hotel workers that they are exposed to bodily fluids originating from guests. Investigators determined that the dangerous conditions are caused by the fact that the hotel is situated next to a hospital, resulting in guests with medical needs booking into the hotel. Housekeeping employees are required to handle towels and linens soiled with bodily fluids and also face the hazards posed by syringes.

OSHA inspectors said the soiled linen in this hotel is similar to hospital waste, and workers must be provided with protection. It was determined that the cleaning processes required harsh chemicals, and the gloves that are issued to the employees do not offer sufficient protection. OSHA gave the hotel until January to provide workers with adequate protection against these unusual risks.

Regardless of the type of workplace injury that is suffered, an injured worker may pursue benefits through the Illinois workers’ compensation program. Medical expenses that resulted from the workplace injury typically form part of the compensation. Furthermore, if the injured worker was unable to report for duty as a result of the injury, the insurance program may also offer a percentage of the lost wages, which will be based on the income level of the injured worker.

Source: wcvb.com, “OSHA fines Boston Wyndham hotel over staff handling of medical waste“, Nov. 17, 2015

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