After weeks pass, county removes yellow jackets from EMS station

News 12 continues to investigate problems with Aiken County EMS. This time around, multiple employees are complaining about what they say is an OSHA violation. It

WRDW-TV

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, Oct. 7, 2013

WINDSOR, S.C. (WRDW) -- It's a pest most wouldn't want in their house, much less their bedroom.

But at Aiken County's EMS Station 7 behind Oakwood-Windsor Elementary, a nest of yellow jackets has been keeping EMT's and paramedics company.

"It's really disgusting, not only as a council representative but also a taxpayer," says Aiken County Councilman Phil Napier.

Last week, an anonymous Aiken County EMS worker sent News 12 a picture from inside Station 7. The photo shows a towel stuffed under the door to prevent the yellow jackets from entering the rest of the building. On the door itself, a sign reads, "Do not open. Yellow jacket nest in wall."

"When you have an EMS station that's infested with yellow jackets, there's no excuse for it," says Napier.

News 12 is told multiple EMS workers are highly allergic to stings, however, no employees have been stung so far. Multiple employees also tell us its been a problem for weeks, and it's a problem they say the county hasn't fixed until Monday morning.

In the meantime, with one bedroom blocked off, one of the two medics has been sleeping on the couch.

"Sometimes they have very little time to sit down and rest and relax, and this is a type of environment they should not be put in," Napier says.

Aiken County Emergency Services Director Tommy Thompson says highly allergic employees have been transferred to other stations in the interim. He tells News 12 he's known about the problem for a couple of weeks.

However, Aiken County Administrator Clay Killian says the people who fix problems like this one, Aiken County's Building and Grounds department, weren't notified until last Friday.

"And I hate it for the employees, and I'd like to apologize for the employees, that these type things aren't passed on," Napier says.

Of course, Thompson tells News 12 that the problem should be fixed after Monday morning. By the way, he says they plan to replace that whole mobile home station with a permanent building in nearby Windsor.

As for the yellow jackets, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulates insects, rats, and other vermin.

"Every enclosed workplace shall be so constructed, equipped, and maintained, so far as reasonably practicable, as to prevent the entrance or harborage of rodents, insects, and other vermin. A continuing and effective extermination program shall be instituted where their presence is detected [1910.141(a)(5)]," OSHA regulation reads.


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