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OSHA Fines Resurrection Health Care's West Suburban Medical Center

Hospital fined $7,500 for exposing workers to asbestos without warning

CHICAGO, Sept. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently fined West Suburban Medical Center $7500 for three "serious" asbestos-related violations. OSHA inspectors found that the hospital put employees at risk by not following asbestos guidelines.

"These are serious violations," said Mario Morales, an employee of the Environmental Services Department at West Suburban Medical Center. "They put us at risk by not providing us with adequate information and training about a dangerous substance in the hospital."

The violations include failing to inform housekeeping employees that asbestos was present in places they work, failing to post warning signs at the entrances where asbestos-containing materials were present, and failing to provide training to the employees, at no cost, on the dangers of asbestos. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, repeated exposure to asbestos increases the risk of a variety of lung problems, including cancer.

"This is the 34th time over the course of five years that OSHA has cited Resurrection for violations of workplace safety regulations," said Henry Bayer, Executive Director of AFSCME Council 31, which is working with employees at Resurrection hospitals who are seeking to form a union. "In the absence of workers having a true voice on the job, these are the types of unsafe practices that repeatedly go unaddressed by nonunion employers such as Resurrection."

Resurrection Health Care is the second-largest health care system in the Chicago metropolitan area and the largest Catholic health care system in Illinois.

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