March 23, 2016
OSHA issues 15 notices of violations to the Department of Veterans Affairs
Central Arkansas Veterans Health System in Little Rock
Notices include willful, repeat safety, health violations
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Despite previous warnings from federal safety and health inspectors about hazardous conditions for its employees, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration continues to find willful and repeat violations at the Central Arkansas Veterans Health System's John L. McClellan Veterans Memorial Hospital in Little Rock.
After its most recent inspection, inspectors in OSHA's Little Rock Area Office issued one willful, two repeat, eight serious, and four other notices on March 22 for unsafe or unhealthful working conditions to the hospital. The September 2015 inspection was part of the Fiscal Year 2015 Federal Agency Targeting Inspection Program. The program is a fiscal year based, programmed inspection program focusing on specific federal agency service/operating locations reporting high numbers of lost time cases.
"John L. McClellan Veterans Memorial Hospital willfully and repeatedly exposed its employees to the dangers of electrocution, amputation, blood borne pathogens and other hazards. That is unacceptable," said Carlos Reynolds, OSHA's area director in Little Rock. "If this institution was a private employer, McClellan Veterans Hospital would be facing nearly $200,000 in fines."
The willful violation included not de-energizing electrical parts and equipment prior to performing work. The repeat violations were cited for failing to ensure written lockout/tagout procedures outlined techniques to control hazardous energy, periodic inspections of the lockout/tagout program were performed and electrical protective equipment was provided and used.
OSHA also cited serious violations for hazards including:
- Not having a spreader and a non-kickback fingers on a table saw.
- Failing to guard shafts, pulleys and belts.
- Not making sure oxygen and acetylene cylinders had valve caps.
- Allowing oxygen and acetylene cylinders to be stored together.
- Failing to ensure use of needles with safety devices.
- Failing to ensure contaminated needles were not recapped.
Other violations included failing to maintain separate OSHA 300 Logs, failing to ensure that exit access was at least 28 inches wide; not guarding fan blades; and failing to ensure that live parts of electric equipment were guarded.
If accessed, the hospital would have faced $184,700 in penalties, and a 10 percent increase for having a history of OSHA violations.
Notices can be seen at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/CAVHS_1093535_0322_16.pdf
The Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs healthcare provider, is one of the nation's largest VA medical centers. The system has two hospitals in Little Rock and North Little Rock, and serves as a teaching facility for more than 1,500 students and residents enrolled in more than 65 educational programs. John L. McClellan Memorial Hospital is a general medical surgical hospital licensed for 195 beds with both in-patient and outpatient surgical suites, and outpatient clinics.
The hospital has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director. Every effort will be made to resolve the issues at an informal conference. If, however, an issue is not resolved by the area director, a summary of the discussion together with the agency's position on the unresolved issues shall be forwarded to the Federal Agency Program Officer within five working days of the informal conference. Under the OSHA Act, federal agencies do not have the right to contest an OSHA Notice.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Little Rock Area Office at 501-224-1841.
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Release Number: 16-528-DAL
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