close-up of money

Senior living providers have been among those cited and fined a total of $3.4 million for coronavirus-related violations since the start of the pandemic, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced Friday.

Operators have been cited for failing to implement written respiratory protection programs; failing to provide a medical evaluation, respirator fit test and training on the proper use of a respirator and personal protective equipment; and failing to report an injury, illness or fatality.

Among recently announced inspections, Schaumburg, IL, continuing care retirement community Friendship Senior Options was fined $13,494 for three “serious” violations related to respirator policies and employee use of respirators.

A spokeswoman for Friendship Senior Options said the provider has “cooperated fully” with OSHA during the investigation.

“Throughout the COVID pandemic, the community has vigorously pursued opportunities to protect the health and well-being of the associates and residents,” Pat Mash, vice president of planning and marketing, told McKnight’s Senior Living. “The community disagrees with the conclusions reached by OSHA and is revisiting their determination.”

Meadowbrook Memory Care Community in Arlington, TX, was fined $1,928 for reportedly not keeping records of fatalities, injuries and illnesses.

Koelsch Senior Communities, which operates Meadowbrook, is still in discussions with OSHA regarding the fine. Chase Salyers, director of operational support for Koelsch, characterized the citation as a “clerical oversight,” indicating a delay in OSHA receiving the requested information led to the citation.

The violations were among 11 found during inspections between Nov. 20 and 26, resulting in $101,207 in fines.

OSHA said that since the start of the coronavirus pandemic through Nov. 26, it has issued citations arising from 255 inspections for violations relating to coronavirus, resulting in proposed penalties totaling $3.4 million. Skilled nursing facilities also have been cited.