ISHN

One fed agency to another: OSHA cites vet medical center for unsafe working conditions

No monetary penalties, though

January 23, 2013

OSHAOSHA has issued seven notices of unsafe or unhealthful working conditions found at the Battle Creek Veterans Administration Medical Center, following a safety inspection conducted in July as part of the agency’s Federal Agency Targeting Inspection Program.

Three repeat safety violations involved failing to evaluate the workplace to identify if permit-required confined spaces were present and label such spaces with danger signs; failing to adequately guard automated laundry equipment to prevent employees from entering the work area, and failing to fully guard the belt and pulley of an air compressor. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs facilities in Danville and North Chicago, Ill., and Minneapolis, Minn., have been cited for the same safety and health violations.

Three serious safety violations involved unguarded floor openings in the general repair shop; failing to inspect powered industrial trucks prior to placing them in service, and failing to remove trucks from service in need of repair. Additionally, a circuit breaker panel was found not to be mounted correctly. One other-than-serious violation involved failing to close unused openings on electrical cabinets and junction boxes.

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. A 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.