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Hill Air Force Base reviewing OSHA citations
Aug 19, 2011 | 2140 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
HILL AFB — Base officials are “evaluating” what federal officials are calling “serious citations” issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Some $51,850 in proposed penalties have been assessed, OSHA said.

The citations are for “exposing workers to hazardous air contaminants,” and alleged by the agency to be causing “unsafe and unhealthful working conditions.”

OSHA, which operates under the U.S. Department of Labor, reportedly issued citations to the installation Aug. 5 following inspections conducted Jan. 31-July 22, 2011.

Information provided by OSHA said “notices” for “32 serious and eight other-than-serious violations of safety and health standards” were given.

“Some of the serious violations involve employees exposed to (various) air contaminants, lack of engineering controls for noise exposure, inadequate process safety management controls for sulfur dioxide, lack of appropriate eye protection, not training workers on hazardous chemicals, improper training for emergency response,” and more.

“The base is evaluating the citations and developing solutions to eliminate hazards from the workplace and prevent future occurrences,” information provided by the base said.

“Among the violations found at the base, workers are exposed to excessive levels of hazardous air contaminants and providing necessary controls is critical to preventing disease,” said OSHA Denver Area Office director Herb Gibson.

“Many of these violations could have been corrected earlier if the base had implemented a more effective safety and health management system aimed at identifying workplace hazards and reducing the likelihood of harm to employees,” he continued.

The notice will become a final order if the Air Force doesn’t request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director in Denver by Aug. 30, the OSHA material said.

“We take the safety and health of our workforce very seriously,” said 75th Air Base Wing commander Col. Sarah E. Zabel.

“We fell short of the expanded OSHA standards, and as soon as OSHA brought the matter to our attention we started remedial actions,” she said.

“The citations have been posted prominently in the affected work areas and the base union representative has been involved in meetings along with OSHA regulators,” the commander said.

“We are working on an abatement plan to address all the issues, and are preparing now for an informal conference with the OSHA regulators to clarify findings and ensure the abatement plan meets our mutual needs. It is our intention to be in full compliance...as soon as possible,” she said.

“In the last two years, Hill personnel have identified and corrected safety issues through OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program, and we’ve spent over $14 million dollars in fall prevention projects,” Zabel said.

“Also, Hill is the top performer in the Air Force Materiel Command for occupational health medical exam completion rates, accomplishing more than 2,000 medical surveillance exams per year specifically addressing OSHA’s expanded standards.”
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