Safety Alert: Hoover Dam

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 @ 04:01 PM gHale

Officials at the Hoover Dam Hydroelectric Power Plant face 50 serious and eight repeat safety and health violations after a comprehensive investigation, said Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials.

The U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation maintains and operates the power plant located 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas.

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“We are concerned to have found this number of serious safety and health violations at the Hoover Dam plant,” said Ken Atha, OSHA’s regional administrator in San Francisco. “We expect to work closely with the agency to rectify these deficiencies and provide a safe and healthful work environment for employees.”

The 50 serious safety and health violations include fall and electrical hazards, a lack of required guards on machinery, inadequate personal protective equipment, lead contamination, and the potential for overexposure to hexavalent chromium. OSHA also identified violations for failing to properly maintain and inspect firefighting equipment, provide unobstructed access to emergency exits, and insufficient lockout/tagout procedures for energy sources that could lead to amputations. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The eight repeat violations include failing to anchor a drill press, implement proper machine guarding, correct multiple electrical violations and properly mount and maintain portable fire extinguishers. A violation is a repeat violation when OSHA has previously notified an employer of the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule, or order at any of its facilities within the last five years. OSHA inspected 25 Bureau of Reclamation facilities nationwide over the past five years, including a previous investigation at the Hoover Dam in October 2010.

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