The Martha’s Vineyard Hospital has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for two violations and must pay a $7,000 fine.
According to OSHA standards, proper warning signs were not posted to inform employees about the presence of asbestos in a thermal system insulation in the mechanical rooms. Further, holes in the floor in the generator room and boiler room were not sufficiently guarded to reduce a tripping hazard.
The violations are defined by OSHA as serious, which means they represent a condition that can pose a hazard to employee safety or health if not corrected.
“There were two standards in which the hospital was not compliant, one dealing with the tripping hazard, and one with the signage,” OSHA spokesman Edmund Fitzgerald told the Gazette this week.
The federal agency conducted an on-site inspection on April 9 after a subcontractor working on a project in the hospital basement complained to the Oak Bluffs board of health of carbon monoxide poisoning. The complainant’s name was not released by the town due to confidentiality rules under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA). The Oak Bluffs fire department responded to the scene in late March, recording an initial carbon monoxide reading of 50 parts per million in a small area of the boiler room. The source of the exposure was a leak in the draft inducer blower, a part of the steam furnace, fire chief John Rose said at the time. The hospital repaired the leak, and within 24 hours, the carbon monoxide reading had returned to zero, Mr. Rose said. The fire department continued to test the site for carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide throughout the next month.
The OSHA inspection found no violations relative to carbon monoxide, Mr. Fitzgerald said.
Hospital spokesman Rachel Vanderhoop said Thursday that the hospital will pay the fine and comply with the necessary corrections.
“This is the 1972 building that we are talking about, which was surveyed in 2004 for asbestos — we are aware that there is asbestos there,” she said. “There should have been a sign that said, do not disturb the wrap on the pipes.”
She continued: “We had a full review, and those were the only two citations. There was no carbon monoxide.”
The hospital must correct the cited safety violations by July 7.
Mr. Fitzgerald said Islanders who have questions or concerns about safety in their workplace have a right to contact OSHA at their Braintree office.
They can also visit osha.gov.