Corrections fined for breaking TB outbreak rules

Corrections fined for breaking TB outbreak rules

The Washington State Department of Corrections has been fined more than $84,000 for apparently failing to follow safety rules meant to stop the spread of the disease at its Aberdeen jail.

The state Department of Labor and Industries said Friday that it cited and fined the agency, The Olympian reported.

The decision came after L&I inspectors responded to complaints linked to an outbreak of tuberculosis in April. That month, the state Department of Health recorded the largest outbreak of the bacterial disease in 20 years, including cases at Stafford Creek Corrections Center.

Stafford Creek workers reportedly did not receive an initial or annual fit test for N-95 respirators, according to L&I. Without the tests, respirators might not fit properly, impeding the ability to protect against infections.

The disease is caused by a bacteria that often infects the lungs and is highly transmissible when people who have it cough or sneeze.

In a statement, the agency said it was “very concerned” about the citations and plans to work with L&I to address the violations.

Corrections said in a statement that it was facing an unprecedented situation due to the outbreak of tuberculosis and an increase in COVID-19 cases caused by the omicron variant. Corrections has identified 23 people in custody with active TB in 2022 and two cases in people diagnosed after release.

It was not immediately clear if Corrections would appeal the L&I citation. The fine would be paid into a worker’s compensation fund to help injured workers and the families of deceased workers.

This story was originally published September 12, 2022 11:01 p.m.


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