Money, Healthcare

An Illinois skilled nursing facility could be hit with nearly $84,000 in penalties for allegedly failing to protect employees and other staff from COVID-19. 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Thursday proposed that the West Suburban Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, in Bloomingdale, IL, pay $83,675 in fines after the agency found one repeat and five serious health violations during a recent visit. 

A request for comment from West Suburban by McKnight’s Long-Term Care News was not returned by production deadline. The facility can appeal the recommended penalty proposed by OSHA. 

The facility required employees to wear N95 filtering masks when entering quarantine areas and caring for residents with suspected COVID-19, but it failed to ensure the personal protective equipment fit or was used properly by staff, according to OSHA. 

The agency said West Suburban also failed to implement a hazard assessment process to evaluate for potential coronavirus exposure, track vaccination status of employees, erect barrier and control procedures to maintain 6 feet of distancing between employees at entry points and nursing stations, and control access to the quarantine zone by staff and patients.

“After more than a year of fighting this pandemic, employers should know the procedures to minimize workers’ risk of exposure and take every precaution,” Jake Scott, Naperville (IL) OSHA area director, said in a statement.