Summary of Conard House - DAR

Employer is a non-profit corporation that maintains a storefront facility that serves clients with mental disabilities by disbursing funds to them. Employer does not provide healthcare to its clients. On one occasion an employee of Employer performing janitorial duties found a hypodermic needle (sharp) in the trash can in the bathroom. In addition, the ALJ reduced the civil penalties based on financial hardship. The issues before the Board were: (1) was there sufficient evidence of financial hardship to support the ALJ’s reduction of the civil penalties; and (2) did the evidence establish that Employer’s employees were occupationally exposed to bloodborne pathogens requiring Employer to provide an exposure control plan pursuant to section 5193(c)(1)(A). The Board determined that there was insufficient evidence of financial hardship to support the further reduction of the civil penalties since the only evidence presented was that any payment of penalties would reduce the monies available to Employer’s clients. The penalties had already been reduced in accordance with the maximum penalty reductions allowed under the Director’s regulations. The Board further found that occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens was not established by the one single instance of a sharp in a restroom or by the potential, hypothetical exposure by employees to the pathogens because of the clientele that Employer serves. Since employees’ duties do not require or risk contact with blood, the mere presence of blood is not enough to establish occupational exposure.

July 27, 1999