Region 10 News Release: # 07-118-SEA (#07-09)
Jan. 25, 2007
Contact: Jeannine Lupton
SEATTLE -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued willful, serious and repeat citations against the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) for alleged safety violations found during a fatality inspection involving the USFS's Integrated Services Organization in Ketchikan, Alaska.
The inspection was initiated after a USFS employee was fatality injured on Aug. 30, 2006, while performing maintenance at the USFS Awke Mountain telecommunications site near Yakutat, Alaska. The employee slipped and fell approximately 225 feet while attempting an emergency egress down the treacherous mountain terrain.
The willful citation addresses failure by the employer to provide adequate shelter or protection from the elements leading to employees attempting emergency egress. Willful violations are those committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.
The serious citation states the employees were exposed to environmental and fall hazards due to lack of personal protective equipment for the inclement weather conditions and lack of training in emergency equipment and preparedness for emergency egress situations.
The repeat citation noted the USFS's failure to inspect workplace operations on an annual basis or more often for work areas with high-risk operations.
USFS was also cited for not maintaining a log or summary of work related injuries and illnesses for the establishment that had been in operation for more than one year.
USFS has 15 working days following receipt of the citations to contest the violations or request a meeting with OSHA to discuss the violation notices, including methods of correction and length of abatement periods.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call (202) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.