Date of Award

Spring 5-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Safety Sciences

First Advisor

Christopher Janicak

Second Advisor

Lora Ott

Third Advisor

Majed Zreiqat

Abstract

This study examined a series of research questions in an attempt to analyze the perceived barriers, organizational factors, and indirect costs of non-compliance with the OSHA bloodborne pathogens standard. The public domain data indicated that the most frequently cited violations of the bloodborne pathogens standard has remained the same since the last OSHA publication on the topic in 2011. The study provides additional detail on the most frequent violations giving the top ten versus top five for the study period of January 2013 to December 2015. The period studied indicates that organizations could expect to see a twenty-eight percent decrease on average from the initial penalty issued to the current penalty received. The study determined there was no significant difference in the current penalties imposed and the availability of a full-time health and safety professional to comply with the standard. Likewise, there was no evidence of a significant difference in the current penalties imposed based on the presence or absence of a certified health and safety professional or if the organization participated in third party reviews of their bloodborne pathogens program prior to the inspection. Respondents from healthcare and social assistance organizations were not in agreement as to the perceived barriers to compliance as well as respondents from organizations classified as non-healthcare or “other.” When examining whether the amount of a penalty was related to the presence or absence of a full-time health and safety professional in an organization, again no significant differences were found. There was a significant positive correlation between the amount of a penalty received by an organization and the dollar amount of the indirect cost to respond to the citation. These indirect costs were above and beyond what would have been spent to be in compliance with the standard initially. Recommendations for future research are provided to examine the cost of penalties and indirect costs to see if a model could be developed to predict the costs of compliance. The ability to predict and quantify these additional costs of compliance to a citation could be useful for encouraging initial compliance with the standard by organizations.

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