Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigates Albany Medical Center

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 7, 2020
Contact: Carl Ginsburg | carl.ginsburg@nysna.org | 917.405.1060

OSHA Investigation Focuses on PPE Protocol and Employee Hospitalizations Caused by COVID Sickness

OSHA Gives Albany Med a December 11 and December 14 deadline for Answers

Both OSHA Letters Can be Seen Below

Albany, NY - The Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has sent two notices to management at Albany Medical Center demanding answers for its investigation into COVID protocol involving personal protective equipment (PPE) and employees who have become sick with the virus.

OSHA has given Albany Medical Center until December 11th and December 14th to answer its questions.

The latest letters can be seen here:

These letters come just days after the New York State Nurses Association filed an OSHA complaint against Albany Medical Center for not protecting its nurses from COVID by neglecting to provide suitable personal protective equipment.

A copy of the complaint can be found here.

The complaint alleges that, among other issues, Albany Medical Center is forcing its nurses to use N95 respirators over and over again – over a period of 20 shifts often lasting 12 or more hours. N95s are “reprocessed” after each shift and sent back to healthcare staff for re-use. The respirators are often stained with make up or other substances and stretched out more and more after each use. N95 manufacturers, the CDC, scientific researchers and occupational health and safety experts all agree — this repeated process degrades the N95 putting wearers at risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. Many AMC nurses have already been infected with COVID-19. The hospital continues to put their staff at risk.

The complaint also alleges that the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) say that N95 respirators should ONLY be re-used if a facility does NOT have a 90-day supply. The state says all hospitals have a 90-day supply. Albany Medical Center confirms it has a 90-day supply. Yet, hospital executives are forcing nurses to re-use the masks.

The complaint comes on the heels of a commissioned report by Edward Olmsted, a private healthcare consultant for hospitals, governments, and insurance companies among others, that says the PPE actions at Albany Medical Center pose for nurses “an unreasonable risk of exposure to COVID-19 while performing their jobs.”

The report can be found here.

We believe that these practices create an immediate threat of harm to nurses and patients and should be immediately remedied. Albany Med must address their health and safety concerns and settle a fair contract that protects patients and nurses.

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The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) represents more than 42,000 members in New York State. We are New York’s largest union and professional association for registered nurses. For more information, please visit nysna.org.

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