Region 10 News Release: 08-878-SEA (#08-128)
Oct. 14, 2008
Contact: Jeannine Lupton
U.S. Labor Department's OSHA cites U.S. Forest Service for unsafe working conditions at Salmon-Challis National Forest in Idaho
SEATTLE -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) for 51 alleged serious safety violations, 77 repeat violations and 16 other-than-serious violations at 10 locations throughout the Salmon-Challis National Forest and involving ranger districts in Salmon, Challis, North Fork, Mackay and Leadore, Idaho.
OSHA's inspection found serious violations involving fall hazards, emergency egress design and maintenance, machine guarding, storage of compressed gas cylinders, liquefied petroleum gas, and flammable liquids and electrical hazards. In addition, OSHA cited the supervisor's office for a broad spectrum of deficiencies in its agency-required safety and health program. A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
OSHA previously cited the USFS for violations at other sites in Idaho, including restricted exit access, lack of machine guarding, fire extinguisher maintenance and electrical hazards. OSHA issues repeat citations when an employer previously has been cited for similar hazards and those citations have become final.
The other-than-serious violations include recordkeeping, hazard communication, personal protective equipment and electrical issues. An other-than-serious violation is a hazardous condition that would probably not cause death or serious physical harm but would have an immediate relationship to the safety and health of employees.
"Federal agencies are required by executive order to comply with OSHA standards and must promptly abate unsafe working conditions," said Richard S. Terrill, regional administrator for OSHA in Seattle. "These citations put the U.S. Forest Service on notice that improvements need to be made."
OSHA operates a vigorous enforcement program, conducting more than 39,000 inspections in fiscal year 2007 and exceeding its inspection goals in each of the last eight years. In fiscal year 2007, OSHA found nearly 89,000 violations of its standards and regulations.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to promote 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.
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