The order affects Rite Aid stores in both New York and New Jersey.
The resolution stems from an incident during which an employee at a Niagara Falls, N.Y. Rite Aid location was told to clean up spilled blood after a customer was injured. An Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigation followed and found the worker was not offered a hepatitis B vaccine and that the Rite Aid store did not have a working exposure control plan in place.
The order also states that Rite Aid cannot react negatively to employees who express concerns or raise safety issues to managers or OSHA. The retailer was additionally issued three safety citations and fined $10,000.
“[Rite Aid has] committed to making sure employees at its New Jersey and New York stores are trained and protected by the same safeguards that apply to employees whose job-specific duties require coverage under the bloodborne pathogen standards,” OSHA Regional Administrator Richard Mendelson said.
“The settlement expands Rite Aid’s bloodborne pathogens protections for those employees who could encounter blood or other bodily fluids while working in the front-end retail area of the stores.”
The settlement also calls for other actions, including training employees about bloodborne hazards in the workplace; offering a hepatitis B vaccination series at no cost to all workers who might be required to handle or clean up blood or potentially infectious materials; keeping workers who are not properly covered by the safety plan to handle blood or potentially hazardous materials; and Rite Aid managers and third-party consultants additionally need to monitor stores to make sure the proper steps have been executed.