OSHA Cites American Airlines in Tulsa for Reported Safety Violations

June 14, 2005

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited the American Airlines maintenance facility in Tulsa for allegedly failing to protect workers from contaminated spray painting fumes and sanding dust. Proposed penalties total $67,975.

OSHA cited American for 15 alleged serious health violations following an inspection that began Dec. 13, 2004, when an employee complained about paint fume exposure. The company employs about 8,200 workers at the facility, 40 of whom were working in an inadequately ventilated hangar where they were exposed to spray painting fumes and to cadmium when plane parts were being sanded.

“If appropriate air monitoring had been performed at the facility, it could have revealed the overexposure to cadmium and other materials,” said James Brown, OSHA area director in Oklahoma City.

The 15 alleged health violations included failure to conduct exposure monitoring for airborne contaminants; not providing appropriate hand protection for exposure to chemicals; lack of respirator training, and overexposures to chromates and total nuisance dust. There were also alleged violations related to overexposure to cadmium during sanding operations including: lack of an initial exposure determination, lack of effective engineering or administrative controls, not establishing regulated areas, not providing protective clothing, not providing medical monitoring or training of employees and using compressed air to remove cadmium from a surface.

American Airlines has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply, request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA’s Oklahoma City area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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