Nashua dental office faces $75k OSHA fine

A Nashua dental office has been fined by the U.S. Department of Labor for allegedly ignoring health and safety laws after an employee was accidentally pricked with a blood-contaminated needle.

Allcare Dental, a chain specializing in dentures, faces a penalty of more than $75,000 for what labor officials are calling “willful and serious” violations at the 2 Cellu Drive location in Nashua.

“They knew about the standard and disregarded it,” said John Chavez, a Labor Department spokesman in Boston.

The Telegraph was unable to get comment from the company before presstime.

Chavez said the violations were uncovered during an inspection the labor department did after receiving a complaint.

An employee had been pricked with a needle that had been used on a patient during a procedure, Chavez said. It’s unclear how or when the employee came in contact with the needle, he said.

The proposed $76,500 fine from the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration includes one “willful” violation and six “serious” citations.

The $63,000 willful citation claims Allcare knew the risks involved but still failed to test the patient’s blood for infection after the employee was pricked.

The $13,500 in serious citations – the type issued when a company “should have known” the risks – includes fines for using needles without safety devices and failing to properly train employees on how to remove a needle from a syringe. Under the OSHA act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy work environment.

“OSHA standards spell out the steps that an employer must take to safeguard employees whose duties may involve contact with blood or other potentially hazardous materials,” Rosemarie Ohar, OSHA’s area director in Concord, said in a statement.

Allcare has an opportunity to meet with OSHA and contest the proposed fines.