2005-07-01 / Community

City Continues To Pay In Blood Pathogens Case

By Howard Schwach


A follow-up inspection of PS 233, the special education unit at Beach Channel High School on April 12, revealed that the school has still not abated the existing problem of the school’s violation of the state’s Bloodborne Pathogens Law. The city’s Department of Education has been paying a hefty fine amounting to $16,000 a month ever since the violations were first uncovered in May of last year.

At that time, the Department of Education issued a statement to The Wave that said, “We have addressed and continue to address the problem. We have revised the [pathogen] plan accordingly and we will institute guidance to insure that all of the pertinent rules are followed.”

In April of this year, however, Senior Industrial Hygienist Philip Mathew conducted a “failure to abate” inspection at the school and issued another order demanding that the school follow the state rules.

Mathew told school representatives as part of the report that “the failure to abate the violations would be transferred to the state’s legal department for further action and that new violations [calling for fines] would be issued.

The 1991 state act requires schools and institutions to train its personnel in dealing with situations where they come in contact with blood or body secretions and must also provide protective material as well as the necessary equipment to clean themselves and their area. Although a violation was ordered more than a year ago, officials say that nothing has been done to abate the problem at the school.

According to statistics provided by the United Federation of Teachers, there were more than 30 exposure incidents recorded at the school over the past five years. Officials found that those exposure complaints were never followed up or dealt with according to the law. Inspectors came to PS 223 in January of 2003 in response to a complaint by staff member Lori Barron, who contracted Hepatitis C after breaking up some fights at the school that left blood on her skin.

Department of Education officials said that they continue to deal with the problem.

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