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Monday, March 23, 2015

OSHA CITES UNIVERSITY FOR EXPOSING FACULTY TO FORMALDEHYDE

FROM:  U.S. LABOR DEPARTMENT
OSHA cites Nova Southeastern University for exposing faculty to high levels of formaldehyde
Employer name: Nova Southeastern University

Inspection site: 3301 College Ave., Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33314
Date inspection initiated: The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration initiated the investigation on Nov. 5, 2014, after receiving a complaint about faculty in the anatomy lab being exposed to formaldehyde.

Inspection findings:

OSHA issued 10 serious citations to the employer for not providing personal protective equipment to workers exposed to formaldehyde; exposing workers to formaldehyde levels beyond the safe exposure limits; not providing a medical surveillance program for workers found to be over the short term exposure limit; not taking corrective action to reduce worker exposure; and not providing eyewash stations in the work area where workers prepared a formaldehyde solution. Additionally, the employer failed to provide the employees who were over the exposure limit their sampling results and neglected to take the necessary steps to reduce or eliminate the exposure. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Quote: "Nova Southeastern University failed to protect its workers from the hazards of over-exposure to formaldehyde," said Beatriz Cabrera acting area director of OSHA's Fort Lauderdale Area Office. "Formaldehyde can irritate the eyes and nose, and cause coughing and wheezing. It is a sensitizer, which means that it can cause allergic reactions of the lungs, skin and eyes, such as asthma, rashes and itching. It also has been linked to cancer."

Proposed Penalties: $50,000