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2 LI health care facilities cited by OSHA for alleged COVID violations  

Executives at the East Neck center "disagree with

Executives at the East Neck center "disagree with OSHA's findings" and are in discussions with the agency, a spokesman said.  Credit: Barry Sloan

Two Long Island health care facilities have been cited for alleged coronavirus-related workforce violations, with potential fines totaling more than $25,000.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration alleged that East Neck Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in West Babylon and Catholic Health Service’s St. Joseph Hospital in Bethpage violated employee safety standards.

Cited facilities have 15 business days from receipt of citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest findings before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, according to a spokesman for OSHA, which sets and enforces workplace safety standards.

East Neck Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in West Babylon was given a proposed fine of $15,422 for allegedly violating standards that require employees to be medically evaluated before wearing tight-fitting face respirators, and allegedly violating a standard requiring that employees be fit-tested before using tight-fitting face respirators.

The rehab center was also cited for allegedly violating a standard requiring employers to keep records of new, work-related fatalities, injuries and illnesses.

East Neck Nursing said it is currently in talks with OSHA regarding its findings.

The center "reviewed the citations and disagree with OSHA’s findings as it is their position that the facility has complied with all DOH and CDC recommendations," Ron Edelson, a spokesman for East Neck Nursing and Rehabilitation Center said Friday.

"They are in discussions with OSHA regarding OSHA’s findings," he said.

St. Joseph Hospital in Bethpage, whose legal name is Winthrop South Nassau Catholic Health Services North Inc., was cited and given a proposed fine of $9,639. OSHA alleged that the hospital violated a standard requiring employers to report a work-related death of any employee within eight hours.

"St. Joseph Hospital recently became aware of this citation and will be responding to it through OSHA’s review process," a Catholic Health Services spokesperson said in a statement Friday addressing the citation.

The two facilities were among 29 across the country recently issued citations alleging coronavirus-related violations between Nov. 6 and Nov. 12, with proposed fines totaling $296,919, according a Nov. 20 OSHA announcement.

OSHA has proposed more than $3.1 million in penalties stemming from 232 inspections since the start of the pandemic, OSHA said in a news release.

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