OSHA Finds Illinois Airport Tower Trafficking in Unsafe Conditions

OSHA has notified officials at the Evansville Regional Airport (Evansville, Ill.) that a recent inspection has found four serious and four repeat safety and health violations in its air traffic control tower.

The agency began its safety and health inspection in August 2009 as a planned inspection under its Airport Air Traffic Control Tower Monitoring Program. Serious violations found include failing to post a diagram of emergency egress routes, conduct annual fire drills, and properly identify doors as "Not an Exit," as well as an improperly grounded electrical outlet. Repeat violations include failing to test the stair pressurization system, unobstructed exit routes, and inadequate or missing emergency action plans and fire prevention plans.

"Workers in air traffic control towers should be assured they can escape quickly and efficiently if disaster strikes," said OSHA Area Director Ken Gilbert in Indianapolis, Ind. "All of us want to see working men and women go home safe at the end of every work shift."

Gilbert noted that if this employer were in the private sector, based on the violations found, total penalties assessed would amount to $125,000. Under the law, federal agencies are cited without penalties.

Public air traffic control towers are operated under the control of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Aviation Administration. Since October 2007, OSHA has inspected 57 FAA tower sites nationwide, with 45 of those inspections resulting in notices issued. Those notices have included 128 violations, more than three-fourths of which were categorized as "serious."

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