A third Long Island entity, East Northport Residential Healthcare Facility, was cited. East Northport Residential Health Care Facility, Inc., is the legal name for Huntington Hills Center for Health & Rehabilitation, located in Melville, New York. Huntington Hills serves the needs of individuals requiring a short-term rehabilitative stay, following a surgical procedure or an acute medical episode. Huntington Hills was also cited for failure to conduct a medical evaluation of employees before respirator fit-testing. Huntington Hills provided documentation of the medical evaluation during the course of OSHA’s investigation, correcting the problem.
“Failure to conduct medical evaluations before fit-testing” citations have become more prevalent since the COVID-19 outbreak began. Per the OSHA Respiratory Protection Standard, using a respirator may place a physiological burden on employees, that varies with the type of respirator worn, the job and workplace conditions in which the respirator is used, and the medical status (i.e., asthma, COPD) of the employee. Therefore, employers must implement requirements for, and conduct medical evaluations, to determine whether an employee can use a specific type of respirator. The employer must provide the evaluation before fit-testing or before the employee is required to use the respirator in the workplace. If the medical evaluation reveals that the employee has a condition (i.e. asthma, COPD) that might render use of a particular respirator inappropriate, the employer should consider what other type of respirator might be appropriate.