Region 2 News Release: NY 204
OSHA CITES WEST POINT MILITARY ACADEMY FOR ALLEGED WILLFUL
October 10, 2000
Contact: Chester J. Fultz
AND OTHER SAFETY AND HEALTH VIOLATIONS
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited West Point Military Academy, West Point, New York, alleging two willful and four serious violations of OSHA standards.
According to John M. Tomich, OSHA area director, the action results from an inspection of Building #606 conducted on April 3 following a non-formal complaint filed with OSHA's Albany area office, alleging that civilian/military employees and cadets were in the building with no functioning fire alarm system, no emergency fire evacuation plan, and no instructions in how to conduct a fire drill. Section 19 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and Executive Order 12196 provides workplace safety and health protection for federal civilian employees in more than 100 government agencies and departments.
"West Point has basically failed to follow proper fire safety procedures at this building for four years. OSHA is very mindful of the fact that not having adequate and properly functioning fire alarm systems can have catastrophic consequences, as happened at Seton Hall University in New Jersey in 1999," Tomich said. "We want to make certain that a similar tragedy is not repeated at one of the country's most prestigious military academies."
Tomich noted that if an employer in the private sector had committed the same alleged violations they would have resulted in up to $150,000 in proposed penalties.
OSHA cited West Point for failure to provide adequate fire alarm systems and failure to provide access to an unlocked doorway exit, two alleged willful violations.
The military facility was also cited for four alleged serious violations:
- failure to properly identify a door as not an exit;
- failure to ensure that an exit sign was readily visible;
- failure to post a "Notice of Unsafe Working Conditions", as required;
- failure to request financial help to correct unsafe conditions.
A willful violation is defined by OSHA as one committed with an intentional disregard for, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the OSH act and regulations. A serious violation is defined as a condition which exists where there is a substantial possibility that death or serious physical harm can result.
The investigation was conducted by OSHA's Albany Area Office.