US Department of Labor's OSHA issues notices for 37 safety and health
violations to US Army's Fort Bragg in North Carolina
FORT BRAGG, N.C. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued notices for 37 safety and health violations following inspections of the U.S. Army's Fort Bragg installation that was conducted as part of OSHA's Federal Agency Targeting Inspection Program.
Two repeat safety violations involve hazards related to abrasive wheel machinery used at the base. Tongue guards were missing and work rests were improperly adjusted, exposing employees to the hazard of shrapnel from shattered wheels. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. The Army had been notified by OSHA's area office in Frankfort, Ky., about these same violations at a Kentucky installation.
Fourteen serious safety violations involve exposing workers to fall hazards due to a lack of a guard rail; a ripsaw not outfitted properly to prevent kickback; and a lower portion blade and crosscut table saw that both lacked machine guards. Lockout/tagout procedures were not developed and training on hazardous energy sources was not provided for employees performing maintenance on electrical pop-up targets and employees servicing mechanical targets were not trained on recognition of hazardous energy sources. Electrical hazards included a power strip attached to a wall and used for multiple outlets, markings missing from electrical panels, a ground plug missing from an extension cord, junction boxes missing covers, flexible cords substituted for fixed wiring and a lack of personal protective equipment for employees exposed to electrical panels. Employees also were not trained in safe work practices associated with electric arc flash protection, and a qualified person did not test equipment to be sure electrical circuits were de-energized before an unqualified employee worked on them.
Additionally, OSHA uncovered three serious health violations including exit routes inadequately lighted, employees allowed to smoke in areas containing flammable and combustible materials, and a lack of a written hazard communication program. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
OSHA notified the Army of one other-than-serious safety violation for an electrical panel that was blocked by a wooden pallet and for 17 other-than-serious health violations. These included five instances of failing to correctly log injuries and illnesses on the OSHA 300 log for 2006 through 2010, and five instances of failing to certify the OSHA 300 log for the same years. The remaining violations include lavatories lacking hot water and soap; fire extinguishers not mounted or subjected to an annual maintenance check; employees not certified for operating powered industrial trucks; failing to determine solder lead content; and failing to provide workers with information concerning the use of lead. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
"Civilian employees and contractors working to support our soldiers should not have to risk their own safety and health daily by being exposed to the hazards found at Fort Bragg," said Kim Morton, director of OSHA's Raleigh Area Office.
Although the state of North Carolina has responsibility for enforcement of occupational safety and health rules in the private sector, federal OSHA is responsible under the Occupational Safety and Health Act for inspecting federal agency sites.
Under Executive Order 12196, federal agencies must comply with the same safety and health standards as private sector employers covered under the OSH Act. The federal agency equivalent to a private sector citation is the Notice of Unsafe and Unhealthful Working Conditions, commonly called "the notice." The OSHA notice is used to inform establishment officials of violations of OSHA standards, alternate standards and 29 Code of Federal Regulations citable program elements. OSHA cannot propose monetary penalties against another federal agency for failure to comply with OSHA standards.
The notice will become a final order if the U.S. Army does not request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Raleigh within 15 business days. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Raleigh office, located at Somerset Park II, 4407 Bland Road, Room 210, Raleigh, N.C. 27809; telephone 919-790-8096. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).
Under Section 19 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, the head of each agency is responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for all federal employees by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.