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OSHA to FAA: Fix hazards in New Orleans air traffic control tower (3/22)

March 22, 2011
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OSHA has issued Notices of Unsafe or Unhealthful Working Conditions to the Federal Aviation Administration's Lakefront Airport Air Traffic Control Tower in New Orleans for exposing workers to possible fire hazards.

An inspection in September, 2010 as part of the agency’s Airport Air Traffic Control Tower Monitoring Program found violations of the Alternate Standard for Fire Safety in Airport Traffic Control Towers. Notices have been issued for six alleged repeat violations and one alleged serious violation.

Repeat violations include improper use of electrical equipment such as relocatable power taps; failing to correct deficiencies in the fire alarm system and stair tower pressurization system; failing to provide a facility emergency action plan and a fire prevention plan; and failing to ensure fire drills are performed. A repeat OSHA notice is issued when a federal agency has been cited previously for the same or a substantially similar condition within the same OSHA region during the past three years. The FAA was cited in 2009 and 2010 for similar violations at other sites in the region.

The serious notice was issued for failing to provide a facility compliance program.

As required by the Occupational Safety and Health Act, federal agencies must comply with the same safety standards as private sector employers. The federal agency equivalent to a private sector citation is the Notice of Unsafe and Unhealthful Working Conditions. The 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 its standards.

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