Cal/OSHA Fines Parter Medical Products $838,800 for Ethylene Oxide Overexposure
March 22, 2023 [SANTA ANA, CA] – The California Department of Industrial Relations' Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) announced on March 21, 2023, that it has issued 18 citations against Parter Medical Products, Inc., including six willful-serious violations. The company has been fined a total of $838,800 for failing to protect its employees from overexposure to ethylene oxide, a toxic chemical used for sterilizing medical devices.
Cal/OSHA Chief Jeff Killip stated that the inspection revealed that the overexposure was not an isolated incident, and the employer failed to take action to protect employees even after being aware of the dangerous exposure levels.
Parter Medical Products, operating as Parter Sterilization Services, uses ethylene oxide gas to sterilize medical devices. Chronic exposure to the gas is linked to cancer, reproductive effects, and neurotoxicity. Notably, its odor is undetectable by humans until concentrations exceed hazardous levels.
The inspection of the Parter facility in Carson began on August 5, 2022, by Cal/OSHA’s Process Safety Management (PSM) Unit, following a referral from the South Coast Air Quality Management District. The facility was shut down in August 2022 for several months to reduce outdoor ethylene oxide emissions. However, Parter’s efforts did not address the employee-exposure issues indoors.
When Cal/OSHA resumed its inspection in December 2022, it found that one employee was overexposed to ethylene oxide throughout their entire shift, with an average exposure of 5 ppm (parts per million) during the shift and 9 ppm during a three-and-a-half-hour period. Cal/OSHA regulations set the permissible exposure limit for an eight-hour period at 1 ppm. Tests indicate that Parter employees were exposed to ethylene oxide above the permissible limit from 2019 to 2022.
The citations issued by Cal/OSHA include violations for failing to have an effective safety plan, develop a respiratory protection plan, monitor employee exposure, and notify workers of exposure over the permissible limit for ethylene oxide.
Exposed to Ethylene Oxide? Obtain Benefits and Pursue a Serious and Willful Claim with Napolin Law Firm
If you or a loved one worked at Parter Medical Products, Inc. and believe you may have been exposed to ethylene oxide, it's important to know your rights and options. California's workers' compensation system allows for obtaining benefits on a no-fault basis, meaning you can receive compensation for any harm you may have suffered due to chemical exposure without having to prove negligence. Napolin Law Firm, experienced in workplace safety and personal injury cases, is here to help you navigate the process and ensure you receive the benefits you're entitled to.
In addition to workers' compensation benefits, you may also have the opportunity to pursue a serious and willful claim under the California Labor Code. Our dedicated legal team at Napolin Law Firm will evaluate your case, determine the extent of your exposure, and work diligently to represent your interests in both workers' compensation and serious and willful claims. We are committed to providing compassionate and assertive representation, helping you secure the compensation you deserve. Contact Napolin Law Firm today for a free consultation and take the first step towards protecting your rights and future.
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