Arizona VA facility exposed employees to hazards, inspectors say

Apr 18, 2023, 4:35 AM

(Facebook Photo/Northern Arizona VA Health Care System)...

(Facebook Photo/Northern Arizona VA Health Care System)

(Facebook Photo/Northern Arizona VA Health Care System)

PHOENIX — A Veterans Affairs health care facility in Arizona endangered its maintenance employees by allowing them to work on steam lines that exposed them to hazards, according to federal inspectors.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration found one willful violation and two repeated violations at the Prescott facility, according to a press release.

Inspectors said the facility lacked energy-isolating procedures designed to prevent the release of hazardous energy when steam lines are being maintained or serviced.

Its process didn’t mean OSHA requirements and the facility failed to train workers on safety procedures, inspectors found.

“Federal law requires all employers, public or private, to provide a safe workplace,” OSHA Area Director T. Zachary Barnett said in the release.

“Management at all Veterans Affairs facilities should review their employee safety and health programs to ensure they comply with industry and OSHA standards for isolating hazardous energy before another tragedy occurs.”

Two VA workers in Connecticut died in 2020 after suffering burns while working on a steam line.

OSHA said those conditions were similar to the ones found in Prescott.

The VA has 15 business days to comply with the notices, request an informal conference with Barnett or appeal the notices by submitting a summary of the agency’s position on the unresolved issues to OSHA’s regional administrator in San Francisco.

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Arizona VA facility exposed employees to hazards, inspectors say