OSHA Cites Physician for COVID-19 Workplace Violations
OSHA has cited a Rhode Island physician for failing to protect employees from exposure to the coronavirus and take proper safety steps after six employees tested positive for the virus.
OSHA announced $136,532 in proposed penalties against the owner of North Providence Urgent Care Inc., North Providence Primary Care Associates Inc., Center of New England Urgent Care Inc., and Center of New England Primary Care Inc.
OSHA claims the doctor, owner of the medical facilities, “willfully exposed” employees to the coronavirus in the fall of 2020.
The agency said he continued to interact with workers and failed to fully implement safeguards after he showed signs of the virus and later tested positive.
While OSHA documents only refer to the individual as “employer,” he is identified in several media reports as Dr. Anthony Farina.
The proposed fines allege Farina failed to:
- Implement engineering controls, such as portable high-efficiency particulate air fan/filtration systems and barriers between adjacent desks
- Implement administrative controls such as cleaning and disinfecting, and symptom screening of all employees
- Mandate contact tracing or quarantine periods after employee exposure to coronavirus-exposed patients
“This employer placed workers and others at risk of contracting the coronavirus,” said OSHA area director Robert Sestito.
“Employers have a responsibility to isolate workers and themselves if they show symptoms of the virus.”
The Rhode Island Department of Health suspended Farina’s medical license for several weeks in January after the Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline received several complaints and determined he engaged in “reckless” coronavirus violations.
Farina can comply and pay the OSHA penalties, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
For more information, contact CBIA’s Phillip Montgomery (860.244.1982).
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