MADISON COUNTY, Ind. – Madison County now faces a $22,500 fine for several health and safety violations at the county coroner’s office.

State documents show Indiana OSHA conducted a series of inspections at the Madison County Coroner’s Office between August 2022 and April of this year.

The Madison County Coroner’s Office has raised concerns about adequate spacing, working conditions and resources for a few years now. The county’s coroner tells FOX59/CBS4 he agrees with these findings. Now, the county now faces six different violations, all of which are considered serious.

“I agree with the OSHA inspector who came out,” Madison County Coroner Dr. Troy Abbott. “There are not clean working conditions, there’s no place to wash your hands, no drains, the smell in the dispatch center at times can be deplorable.”

According to OSHA documents obtained by FOX59/CBS4 News, the six violations include:

  • No adequate handwashing station for employees exposed to blood, body fluids, and corpses in various states of decomposition
  • Employees observed not using personal protective equipment such as gowns and gloves, which led to possible exposure to biological substances
  • Not supplying adequate face and eye protection not provided for employees exposed to blood while cleaning blood and handling bodies with various stages of decomposition
  • Employees exposed to potential biological substances on contaminated working surfaces (tables, waste receptacles, doors, electronics)
  • Needles and syringes were not adequately contained, which led to possible exposure of biological/bodily fluids
  • Exposure to contaminated sheets, blankets, pillow cases, and other unknown textiles that were not bagged in special containers

Dr. Abbott agrees with concerns about exposure to bodily fluids and contamination.

“There’s always a chance for spillage, splatter and that could get in someone’s eyes or on someone’s clothing,” he described. “And we have to be able to wash those areas and we don’t have those facilities.”

Abbott said it all stems back to a request for a morgue. Instead, he said the county has left his office stuck with restaurant-style walk-in cooler.

“They’ve got more than adequate funds to provide those to us but they’ve refused to do that,” he said.

We reached out multiple times to the county commission and never heard back. Abbott said the pandemic and now rising fentanyl overdoses have only made things worse.

“We have had an increased number of deaths that exceeds the capacity of our current situation,” he said.

Abbot said as overdose deaths continue to rise, he does not expect those numbers to change anytime soon. 

All of these violations have to be fixed by May 25. However, the county has 15 business days to contest these findings and request a formal review.