NEEDLE LAW: Seton Medical Center Fined for Violations
Daly City's Seton Medical Center received a $5,100 state OSHA fine earlier this month for failing to comply with the state's new safe needle law, which requires health care facilities to supply employees with "safe-needle devices that protect them against accidental needle sticks." The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the hospital was cited for nine violations of the law, including failure to keep accurate records of needle-stick incidents and to draft an implementation plan. The fine and citations mark the first efforts to enforce the law, and Cal OSHA is currently investigating 10 to 20 other health facilities for possible violations. "Health care workers have every right to expect their employers to provide them with a safe working environment," said Sal Rosselli, president of the local health care union that filed the complaint in July. But hospital officials plan to challenge the citations, contending that the facility is following the law. "We have a major emphasis on employee safety," Bernadette Smith, Seton COO, said. She explained that the transition to safe needles took some time because the hospital had trouble obtaining adequate supplies and staff training, but now the facility is in full compliance. Cal OSHA has ordered hospital officials to correct all violations by Nov. 17 (Carlsen, 10/27).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.