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North Carolina fire department settles OSHA claims

The North Carolina Department of Labor issued citations to the Town of Indian Beach fire department. At issue were safety violations related to asbestos removal and electrical wiring.

Among the citations issued, 12 were serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of North Carolina (OSHA). These were related to an inspection that took place after a complaint was filed about the possibility of workplace asbestos exposure back in November 2011.

Specifically, employees removed linoleum at a training facility containing 25 percent Chrysotile asbestos. The violations at the fire station involved inadequate enclosure of electrical systems.

At an informal meeting between the town and the labor department, the town agreed to a settlement of the accusations it faced. The agreement reduced the amount of the penalties to be assessed against the town for the citations by 25 percent. In addition, the town must correct all of the problems that were the subject of the citations.

In fact, this North Carolina town says that not only has it already corrected all of the problems cited by OSHA, it is pursuing other efforts to ensure the safety of all of its employees. Among these efforts is the request for North Carolina's Department of Labor to evaluate all worker safety conditions in the Town of Indian Beach, not simply at the fire department. This shows an understanding of how important it is to protect employees from dangers on the job.

This is certainly good news for workers employed by the Town of Indian Beach. Unless employers take the safety of personnel very seriously, even what may seem like small safety violations can lead to serious personal injuries on the job.

Source: JDNews.com, "Fire department reaches agreement for safety violations," Jannette Pippin, March 12, 2012

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