DOL Sues Dentist for Firing Worker who Complained about Needlestick Hazards

According to the complaint, the employer discharged a dental assistant who raised concerns about an office procedure that required workers to remove protective caps from contaminated needles before putting the needles in disposal containers for sharps.

The U.S. Department of Labor has sued a Beverly, Mass., dentist, N. Terry Fayad, and his practice for allegedly firing an employee for raising concerns about needlestick hazards and filing a health hazard complaint with OSHA.

"No employer should ever treat employees this way," said Marthe Kent, OSHA's New England regional administrator. "Workers have the right to perform their jobs without being exposed to life-threatening hazards as well as the right to raise concerns when faced with such hazards. The Labor Department will take all appropriate legal steps to ensure these rights are enforced."

According to the complaint filed in U.S. district court in Boston by the department's Office of the Regional Solicitor, Fayad discharged a dental assistant in November 2010 after the employee raised concerns about an office procedure that required workers to remove protective caps from contaminated needles before putting the needles in disposal containers for sharps. This procedure exposed the employees to injury and possible infection by bloodborne pathogens such as hepatitis and HIV.

The lawsuit seeks the employee's reinstatement, payment of lost wages, benefits, interest, and compensatory and punitive damages. The suit also seeks to enjoin Fayad from violating the Occupational Safety and Health Act in the future.

A separate OSHA health inspection of the dental practice begun on Nov. 23, 2010, resulted in Fayad being cited for eight alleged serious violations of the agency's bloodborne pathogen and hazard communication standards, including having employees remove the caps from contaminated needles. Fayad has contested those citations and the accompanying $26,400 in proposed fines to the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • Track Key Safety Performance Indicators

    IndustrySafe’s Dashboard Module allows organizations to easily track safety KPIs and metrics. Gain increased visibility into your business’ operations and safety data.

  • Analyze Incident Data

    Collect relevant incident data, analyze trends, and generate accurate regulatory reports, including OSHA 300, 300A, and 301 logs, through IndustrySafe’s extensive incident reporting and investigation module.

  • Safety Training 101

    When it comes to safety training, no matter the industry, there are always questions regarding requirements and certifications. We’ve put together a guide on key safety training topics, requirements for certifications, and answers to common training questions.

  • Conduct EHS Inspections and Audits

    Record and manage your organization’s inspection data with IndustrySafe’s Inspections module. IndustrySafe’s pre-built forms and checklists may be used as is, or can be customized to better suit the needs of your organization.

  • Industry Safe
comments powered by Disqus

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - March 2019

    March 2019

    Featuring:

    • HEARING PROTECTION
      Not Your Grandpa's Ear Muffs 
    • FALL PROTECTION
      Far Too Many Fatal Falls
    • DRUG TESTING
      Marijuana in the Workplace
    • FALL PREVENTION
      Ladder Safety Tips
    View This Issue