U.S. Forest Service Cited for Serious Violations at Two Ranger Districts

The violations would have been at least $352.000 in penalties.

The U.S. Forest Service has been cited by OSHA for widespread safety violations. An investigation found rampant and repeated safety violations at two different ranger districts in Oregon's Malheur National Forest, a 1.7 million acre woodland in the Blue Mountains, according to OSHA.

Numerous fall, electrical, and compressed gas violations were identified, including: circuit breakers missing blanks or breakers, electrical junction boxes and outlets without covers, failure to require employees to wear eye protection when working with caustic chemicals, ladder flaws that could lead to fall hazards, woodworking machines without devices to prevent restarting after power failures, unacceptable guardrails that could cause dangerous falls, unguarded terminals for welding leads, failure to inspect fire extinguishers monthly, seasonal housing with insufficient secondary fire exits, and inadequate employee hazard identification training.

If USFS had been a private-sector company, it would have been assessed approximately $352,000 in proposed fines for these violations, OSHA reported.

"Like the private sector, these dedicated federal workers deserve a safe and healthy workplace," said Ken Atha, OSHA regional administrator in Seattle. "The Forest Service must ensure its workplace and housing are free from safety hazards."

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    March 2021

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