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Region 5 News Release: 10-291-CHI
May 11, 2010
Contact: Scott Allen
Phone: 312-353-6976
Email: allenscott@dol.gov

US Labor Department's OSHA notifies Minneapolis Veterans Affairs
Medical Center of workplace safety and health hazards to its workers

MINNEAPOLIS - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has notified officials at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center that a recent inspection has found 32 serious, four repeat and one other-than-serious violation of federal workplace safety and health standards.

OSHA began its safety and health inspection at the hospital in September 2009 as a planned inspection under its targeting inspection program, designed to focus on federal worksites experiencing a high number of lost time work-related injury and illness cases.

Serious violations identified involve electrical hazards, safety guarding of machines to prevent amputation or other injuries when workers are pulled into moving machine parts, improper storage of fuel and oxygen, compliance with requirements for controlling bloodborne pathogens and confined space entry, among others.

Repeat violations are based on a previous inspection at a Veterans Affairs facility in Madison, Wis., where similar electrical hazards and inadequate hazardous energy control procedures were identified.

"Workers in the VA hospitals around the country accept responsibility for providing care to those Americans who risked their lives serving our country," said OSHA Area Director Mark Hysell in Eau Claire, Wis. "It is imperative that VA management see to it that these workers are protected against injuries as they pursue that admirable task."

Because the medical center is a federal employer, no fines are being assessed. However, if penalties were permissible, they would total $171,000