OSHA has cited a health center in Hartford, and proposed nearly $18,000 in fines, for failing to adequately safeguard employees exposed to tuberculosis and other infectious diseases. The agency had received an employee complaint last February.

The violations include the center's failure to have a system in place that promptly identifies, masks, and isolates patients with suspected tuberculosis; and its failure to provide workers who had face-to-face contact with suspected or confirmed tuberculosis patients with training on the disease and a respiratory protection program. In addition, the center lacked a hazard communication program and hazardous chemical training.

Employees were needlessly exposed to a potentially contagious infection due to the lack of basic protective measures that should have been in place, says OSHA. An effective infectious control program would have established procedures and provided training and protective equipment to workers to minimize their exposure.

The center has 15 days from the date of the citations to comply, meet with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings.

More information on protecting workers against tuberculosis