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US Department of Labor proposes $38K in fines for Illinois healthcare facility where workers were not fully protected from coronavirus hazards

BYRON, IL – An inspection at a Byron rehabilitation and post-acute care facility found the healthcare facility did not comply with federal respiratory protection requirements in the facility’s quarantine area and failed to protect workers from coronavirus hazards.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that Generations at Neighbors LLC failed to implement critical elements of OSHA’s National Emphasis Program for Coronavirus and the Emergency Temporary Standard for Health Care. The Aug. 10 inspection cited four serious health violations and led OSHA to propose $38,620 in penalties.

OSHA concluded that Generations at Neighbors – operator of six similar facilities in Illinois and Indiana – did not ensure its coronavirus prevention plan included policies and procedures to minimize the risk of transmission for each employee. The agency found the healthcare facility failed to ensure proper use of respiratory protection, conduct thorough hazard assessments, maintain social distancing and physical barriers, and determine employees’ vaccination status.

“Improper use of respirators in a healthcare facility where an outbreak of coronavirus could lead to a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases and potential death could have serious consequences for the health of employees,” said OSHA Area Director Jacob Scott in Naperville, Illinois. “After more than a year of fighting this pandemic, employers need to ensure every precaution is taken to minimize workers’ risk of exposure.”

Owned by Lincolnwood-based Generations Healthcare Network, Generations at Neighbors operates rehabilitation and skilled nursing facilities in Des Plaines, Elmwood Park, Matteson, Niles and Rock Island, Illinois, and in Auburn, Indiana.

Learn more about OSHA and the agency’s resources on coronavirus protection. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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