Oct. 15, 2010
Contact: Rich Kulczewski
US Department of Labor's OSHA issues notices of unsafe and unhealthful
working conditions to US Army Garrison at Fort Riley, Kan.
WICHITA, Kan. — The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued notices of unsafe and unhealthful working conditions to the U.S. Army Garrison, Directorate of Public Works, in Fort Riley, Kan., for one willful and 18 serious violations.
OSHA's inspection was initiated in March under its Process Safety Management Covered Chemical Facilities National Emphasis Program, which focuses on preventing the release of any substance defined as a highly hazardous chemical.
"Workers at the water treatment plant were routinely exposed to hazards that involved a potentially catastrophic release of chlorine," said Charles E. Adkins, OSHA's regional administrator in Kansas City, Mo. "It is imperative that this employer take the necessary steps to eliminate hazards from the workplace."
The willful violation addresses hazards associated with the routine use of 5-minute emergency escape breathing apparatus instead of self-contained breathing apparatus or supplied air respirators while operators changed chlorine cylinders. OSHA issues a willful violation when an employer exhibits plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.
The serious violations address hazards associated with process safety management, including a lack of process safety information, inadequate operating procedures, a lack of operator training, a lack of contractor evaluation, inadequate mechanical integrity procedures, a lack of management of change documentation and a lack of compliance audit findings. Additional serious violations include a lack of a medical evaluation for respiratory protection and a lack of an eye/shower station in the chlorine building. OSHA issues a serious citation when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which an employer knew or should have known.
Under Executive Order 12196, federal agencies must comply with the same safety standards as private sector employers covered under the Occupational Safety and Health 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 U.S. Army Garrison may comply with the notice, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Wichita or request a hearing with the regional administrator in Kansas City, Mo. Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call OSHA's Wichita Area Office at 316-269-6644 or the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) to report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department 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 http://www.dol.gov/compliance.