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June 20, 2011
OSHA Issues Lead Exposure Notice to National Park Service

OSHA has issued 16 notices of unhealthful and unsafe working conditions to the National Park Service-San Juan National Historic Site.

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The notices allege violations of workplace health and safety standards, including exposing workers to hazards during lead paint encapsulation work in a building at the site.

Federal agencies are required to comply with OSHA regulations. But the agency cannot propose monetary penalties against them (the postal service is an exception) for failure to comply.

A notice of unsafe or unhealthful conditions is the equivalent of a private sector citation.

One willful notice addressed several issues, including the Park Service’s failure to train employees to recognize and avoid lead hazards, failure to conduct an initial lead exposure assessment, allowing lead to accumulate on floors, and not notifying workers of blood lead levels, among other concerns.

There were also eight alleged serious violations and seven other-than-serious.

According to Puerto Rico area director Jose A. Carpena, the identified hazards would have resulted in fines of $115,000 for a private sector employer. “The National Park Service must take effective action to correct these hazards and prevent them from occurring again,” he added.

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