United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Labo.

OSHA reform : coverage and enforcement : hearing before the Subcommittee on Labor of the Committee on Labor and Human Resources, United States Senate, One Hundred Third Congress, first session, on examining the scope of coverage and enforcement of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of online

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Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. Senate. Committee on LaboOSHA reform : coverage and enforcement : hearing before the Subcommittee on Labor of the Committee on Labor and Human Resources, United States Senate, One Hundred Third Congress, first session, on examining the scope of coverage and enforcement of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of → online text (page 16 of 17)
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already or will be Issuing failure to abate notices to the
Forest Service . "

FS Comment: The Forest Service responded to the Notices of Unsafe and
Unhealthful Working Conditions by a 6700 letter to
Mr. Edward J. Cosgrove, Area Director of OSHA, dated July 26,
1993. This letter points out that five of the violations have
been acted upon. This response was acknowledged by a response
from Mr. Cosgrove on August 10, 1993, stating that two of the
five violations were abated and the other three were being
worked on by the Forest Service. The Forest Service is
arranging a meeting with OSHA In November to discuss the
remaining notices.



92

Because OSHA did not prepare an Investigation report, we cannot
substantiate any of their findings, nor compare them with those
In the Forest Service Accident Investigation Report. The Issue
was recently elevated by both agencies to the next higher
organizational level.

StatempntwlO: "We want to do our Jobs safely; we do not want to lose another
life because of poor training and no equipment."

FS Comment: The Forest Service fully supports conducting all work In a

completely safe manner. We provide training to our employees In
safety and health, as well as specific training In fire
suppression. The fire suppression training Includes basics of
fire suppression tactics, fire behavior, and strong emphasis on
the safety items called "The 10 Standard Flreflghtlng Orders"
and "The Elgliteen Situations that Shout Watchout." Reference
Tab "L" of the Accident Investigation Report for copies of these
safety emphasis Items. As stated previously, each Individual on
the flrellne, whether regular, temporary or specially hired, is
provided all PFE, except the 8-lnch lace-top boots. Statements
by Ron Gallegos, Crew Representative with the Jeraez Crew, and
Mike Wlrtz, Safety Officer on the management team Indicate that
the crew was Inspected for PPE and met all requirements on the
day of the fatality. Reference Tab "H" of the Accident
Investigation Report for copies of Gallegos's and Wlrtz's
statement .



Forest Service Response to Statement by Mr. W. Patrick O'Connor

On Frldny, April 23 at about 10 a.m., Santa Fe National Forest Personnel
Officer Ron Banegas spoke with Herman Salazar, President, American Federation
of Government Employees (AFGE) , Local 3137. They talked about AFGE Union
representation on the Regional Forester's Investigative Team. Mr. Banegas
correctly informed Mr. Salnzar that AFGE representation only applies to
Investigations conducted under the jurisdiction of the Santa Fe Forest
Supervisor, and If mutually agreed upon.

AFGE Local 3137 represents only covered bargaining unit employees who work on
the Santa Fe National Forest, and does not cover those working in the Forest
Service Regional Office. Due to the nature of the Incident (fatality), the
individual responsible for the Investigation Is the Regional Forester.
Therefore, the jurisdiction for this investigation was outside the scope of
the Santa Fe National Forest. Additionally, the Santa Fe National Forest and
the Union have not mutually agreed to any conditions on investigating
accident.";. Mr. Banegas Informed Mr. Salazar that it was his understanding
that the Bureau of Indian Affairs might be conducting their own investigation
since the Incident occurred on Pueblo land.

Mr Salazar did not agree with the Santa Fe's position and stated that he
would contact the AFGE Regional Office in Denver to set the record straight
and to notify OSIIA of the fatality.

At approximately 10:30 a.m. on Friday, April 23, Mr. Banegas spoke by phone to
an AFGE Regional Office official, Mr. O'Connor. Mr. Banegas correctly
restated the position of the Santa Fe National Forest. Mr. O'Connor replied
that they did not agree and that AFGE local 3137 would file an Unfair Labor
Practice (ULP) charge against Mr. Banegas for allowing the Regional Office to
violate Its union contract. Mr. Banegas told Mr. O'Connor to do what he
needed to do but that the Santa Fe's position would stand. There was no
further discussion; the conversation came to a prompt end. To date, the
Santa Fe National Forest has not received the ULP charge.

Mr. Stanley D. Kauchak, Albuquerque Area Office of OSHA, was notified before
10 a.m. on Friday, April 23, of the fatality by the Forest Service Regional
Safety Officer. At the time of the phone conversation with Mr. O'Connor,
Banegas did not know for sure whether OSHA had already been notified by the
Regional Office.



93

On the evening of October 5, 1993, an Albuquerque Journal North reporter
called Art Morrison from the Forest Service Regional office at home regarding
Mr. O'Connor's statement. Morrison gave tlie reporter Banegas' name and home
phono number. Later on the evening of October 5, 1993, Ron Banegas spoke to
the reporter from the Journal In response to a quote in Mr. O'Connor's
statement that read, "Mr. Benegas (sic) then said to me the most chilling
word.<; I have ever heard. lie said, '1 don't know what the big deal is? It was
only an Indian. ' "

As reported In the paper the next morning, Banegas called O'Connor's quote
"completely false- -a complete fabrication." Banegas was also accurately
quoted In the story as saying, "My responsibility at the time of the incident
was to work very closely with the members of the family and to make sure that
their needs were taken care of and that they knew of all the benefits that may
be forthcoming."

Mr. Banegas to this day is working closely with family members and continues
to have an excellent rapport with family members In spite of Mr. O'Connor's
remarks .

In this same story, the paper reported that Mr. O'Connor could not recall the
name of the official whom he named in his statement submitted to the
Subcommittee that same day. The story headlined as "Forest official accused
of 'racist attitude'" is enclosed as Attachment "C" .

Other erroneous information in Mr. O'Connor's statement includes the role and
cooperation of Mr. Marvin (sic) White with the two-person OSHA investigation
team. Arvln White headed the 12-person Forest Service Investigation Team that
spent about 175 days conducting their investigation. He and some of his team
began their work on Friday, April 23, 1993. The OSHA investigation team began
their investigation work on Monday, April 26. OSHA inspectors were escorted
to the accident site on Monday afternoon and by Wednesday morning all Forest
Service investigation team documents were collected in one place and made
available to OSHA Inspectors. See Forest Service Response to OSHA Notice
dated July 21, 1993. page 28.

According to Mr. O'Connor's statement, he was informed by OSHA on the same day
he spoke to Banegas (April 23, 1993) that OSHA inspectors were refused access
to records and witnesses. However, the record clearly shows that OSHA did not
become involved until April 26, 1993.

To the best of our knowledge, no Forest Service officials instructed other
Forest Service personnel to not talk with OSHA investigators. In fact. Forest
Service officials repeatedly suggested to OSHA investigators that they should
talk to members of the Fire Management Team in addition to the fire crew
members directly involved in the Incident.

Included in Mr. O'Connor's statement is a list of 14 Items that allege what
the Forest Service failed to do according to OSHA. The Forest Service was
Issued 13 notices of unsafe or unhealthful working conditions by OSHA on
June 29, 1993. The 16 items In Mr. O'Connor's statement do not directly
relate to the official OSHA documents received by the Forest Service. We have
agreed to abate 5 of the 13 notices and have requested further discussion with
OSHA officials on the remaining 8 notices.

Forest Service Response to Statement by John N. Sturdlvanc

The four items in Mr. Sturdivant's statement before the Subcommittee are each
thoroughly addressed in the Forest Service Response to OSHA Notice dated
July 21, 1993, or the Accident Investigation Report.

1. Training and personal protective equipment and respirators are discussed on
pages 21, 31, and 39.

2. The fire shelter deployment is discussed in the Accident Investigation
Report, Tab F.

3. Forest Service cooperation with OSHA is on page 28.

4. The Santa Fe National Forest injury and illness records are discussed on
page 37.



94

Other allegations tn Mr. Sturdlvanfs statement that came to his attention
from other sources have alrendy been addressed. However, all Forest Service
personnel are trained to think and stress "Safety First" In the conduct of
Agency work. This applies to field-going workers and top management.

Forest Service Response to Statement by Mr. Charles A. Casey

Mr. Charles A. Casey was the Southwestern Region's Safety and Health Manager
from October 6, 1991. until he announced retirement on July 13, 1993. He
transferred to Albuquerque, New Mexico, from our Alaska Region, where he held
a Forest-level position as Aviation and Safety Officer. Mr. Casey sent the
Subcommittee a three-page, seven-paragraph, undated letter. The Forest
Service first learned of this letter when asked by a reporter for the New
Mexican newspaper In Santa Fe to respond to allegations made by Mr. Casey.
The story that appeared on October 6, 1993, headlined "Fire victim's friends
call Forest Service cruel" Is enclosed as Attachment "D" .

Paragraph No. 1. The Forest Service Investigation was conducted In
compliance with existing Federal law. We have always stressed that the safety
of our employees Is our number one priority. Larry Henson, Regional Forester
for the Southwestern Region, has In fact stepped up the emphasis on safety in
the last year.

Paragraph No. 2. The Regional Forester appointed Mr. Arvln L. White as
the Forest Service Chief Investigator. Mr. White has Investigated 12 major
accidents over the last 21 years; 8 as Chief Investigator. He has been
selected by my office three times to be an accident Investigator. Mr. White
graduated from the University of California Safety and Systems Management
training on accident Investigations In 1986. He has Instructed at Forest
Service accident Investigation training. He and the 11 other members of the
accident Investigation team were well qualified for the positions they held
and the duties assigned to them. My office has reviewed the accident
invest} gatlon report dated June 19, 1993, and It Is very thorough and complete
In documenting the facts surrounding the accident. The Forest Service
cooperated completely with the Albuquerque Area Director of OSHA In providing
available Information In a timely manner. More detail is documented In the
Regional Forester's 67-page response dated July 21, 1993, to the OSHA Notice
issued June 29, 1993.

Paragraph No. 3. Mr. Casey states he was the Regional Safety and Health
Manager at the time of the accident, and that the Investigation should have
been done under his direction. Policy and direction are held by Forest
Service line officers. The Regional Forester decides the best way In which
the facts of an accident, such as what happened on April 22, 1993, will be
Investigated. The Regional Forester did that.

Mr. Casey was present In the Southwestern Regional Office the evening of
April 22, 1993, when the accident Investigation team was formed. He
recognized that his physical disability would preclude him from being a member
of the Investigation team that could go to the accident site for the purpose
of an accident Investigation, Mr. Casey participated in the decision that
John Fehr, Forest Engineer and Forest Safety Officer, Cibola National Forest,
would represent the "safety" Interests on the accident investigation team.

Mr. Casey called Arvln White, Chief Investigator, that evening and said words
to the effect that "you don't want someone In a wheelchair as a member of your

accident investigation team. Neither the Regional Forester nor his Deputy
Regional Foresters were ever advised that the accident investigation
report... was not representative of the facts and further was not worth the
paper it was written on."

Mr. Casey also states that the OSHA Investigation "...does not omit the facts
of the Interviews." The Albuquerque Area Office of OSHA has not issued a
report as authorized by E.O. No, 12196 dated February 26, 1980. They merely
issued a Notice of Unsafe or Unhealthful Working Conditions dated June 29,
1993. The Regional Forester, Deputy Regional Forester, and our USDA attorney,
have visited the OSHA Albuquerque Area Office to learn what information they
collected. OSHA provided no new information of substance.



95

Mr. Casey goes on to sny, "...I «as systematically removed from the process."
This Is not true. Mr. Casey «as fully Involved. He was in the Regional
Office when the accident Investigation team was selected. Although he was not
physically able to participate as a member of the accident Investigation team,
he attended a meeting on Hny 6 with OSHA and Forest Service investigators to
review the evidence collected to date. This was an all-day meeting and
Mr. Casey stayed until about 2 p.m. He made no comments that reflected
concerns as expressed In his letter to the Subcommittee.

Mr. Casey had several opportunities to express his concerns with the Regional
Forester, Including a 4-hour informal meeting the Regional Forester had with
OSJIA on July 12, 1993. Mr. Casey left this meeting after about 1-1/2 hours
and the next day he filed for extended sick leave and retirement.

Paragraph No. A. The Forest Service does not hold "...OSHA In contempt."
Ue would like to work with OSHA and have them cooperate with us to improve
Forest Service safety and hpalth. OSHA representatives have taken an
adversarial position with our Southwestern Region. This has been counter
productive to both agencies' goals. USDA Office of General Counsel attorneys
have provided advice and assistance to the Southwestern Region and we have met
all legal requirements. The Regional Forester has documented many times his
priority that we provide a safe and healthful place for our people to work as
we carry out our mission, as directed by the Congress through Federal law, the
President's Executive Orders, and the Code of Federal Regulations.

Paragraph No. 5. Mr. Casey discussed the results of a questionnaire he
compiled. We have not found any documentation in Forest Service files on how
this survey was done, nor who was asked to respond. As stated, Mr. Casey left
thp Forest Service on July 13, 1993. The Southwestern Region's Director of
Human Resources dlscussod this matter in her enclosed letter to Deputy
Regional Forester Louis Volk dated October 15, 1993 (Attachment E) .

Paragraph No. 6. Ue refute Mr. Casey's statement that the Forest Service
temporary employees "... are treated like second class citizens, often
referred to as pieces of meat." This Is not true. It Is unfortunate that a
retired Forest Service Safety and Health Manager felt he must write such an
Inflammatory statement. If he heard these comments, he should have made us

aware of them Immediately. Our program of employing members of Southwestern
Pueblos is recognized nationally. We treat all people with respect and
dignity and demand it from employees.

Paragraph No. 7. Most of this paragraph contains Mr. Casey's personal
opinions. He Is entitled to them. However, the investigation report does not
support what he says. He has distorted the facts for the Subcommittee
regarding the subject accident investigation. Much of the work that Forest
Service employees do for the benefit of the American people can be dangerous,
and certainly wlldland fire management is one of them. The same applies to
fighting structural fires and police work. The Forest Service manages 191
million acres of national forest lands. The nearly 40,000 dedicated public
servants who conduct this work are taught to think and act "Safety First."

Paragraph No. 8. Contrary to what Mr. Casey says, the Forest Service does
have a management accountability process. We consider safety and health
objectives (we call them "targets") in rating Regional Foresters'
performance. Regional Foresters do the same in rating Forest Supervisors.
Accident prevention and numbers of accidents are considered In performance
evaluations and performance ratings. Please refer to Judy Hudson's letter of
October 15, 1993, (Attachment E) .



96

ussi X :ia / /c ;n c ;/ ■ / -l/c;/ / / ' a 1 1 vi luai n s Ai^ao

I'.j- M N'-SM iir^i M"-; wi.Mi wv \\\siiiN';ii>\' ni jour, jitj v^nrAty) iv\x 2023^8. 'i424

October 15, 1993



The Honorable Howard Metzenbaum
140 Russell Senate Office Building
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Metzenbaum:

Per your request, below please find the answers to your questions
sent to me on October 6th. I would like to take this opportunity
to thank you again for holding the October 5th Occupational
Safety and Health Act Reform hearing- As you heard from all the
witnesses, it is crucial that we reform the OSHAct and include
those workers whose safety and health are not currently being
sufficiently regulated.

1. Can you tell ne what OSIIA night have done to protect the
flight attendants?

Presently, when a flight attendant becomes ill or is injured on
an aircraft, she or he can notify the pilot and the union.
Together, they can then contact the airline management and the
Federal Aviation Administration. Usually, nothing happens beyond
that notification.

Yet, if flight attendants were covered by OSHA, when a flight
attendant becomes ill or is injured on an aircraft, she or he
would have the right to file a complaint with OSHA over the job
hazard. OSHA would then inspect the problem and if a violation
was found, OSHA would issue citations and penalties against the
employer. In our case, the large number of complaints at our
carrier would probably have prompted a quick response from OSHA
and we would have seen a satisfactory approach to this problem
and possibly a resolution by now.

As it stands, it has now been over four years and not only has
the problem not been solved but the FAA has not made a serious
attempt to figure out the cause.

In addition, with OSHA coverage, flight attendants would have
health and safety standards and employers would be required to
keep a log of work-related injuries and illnesses (and workers
would have access to that log) . We would have the right to
participate on joint labor-management safety and health
committees and would receive better training. All these changes
would greatly improve the safety and health of flight
attendants.

2) nnve flight attendants on other airlines had similar health
problems?

Yes. This is a problem at all carriers. It is also not just an
air quality problem but a much larger safety and health problem
throughout the industry.

For example, in preparing for this hearing, I was told about an
incident in June of 1990, at a major carrier. A Boeing 727
aircraft, with 22 passengers and four flight attendants, was
traveling from Columbus, Ohio to New York's LaGuardia Airport.
Shortly after departure, passengers and flight attendants began
experiencing health problems. As one flight attendant reported,
she went into the lavatory because she was nauseated. When she



97

came out of the lavatory, her flying partner was unconscious In
the first row of first class. As she sat in the seat next to her
to assist, she too became unconscious. Only one flight attendant
was capable of performing crucial safety responsibilities. All
the crew members were taken to the hospital by ambulance. Even
now little is known about -the possible exposure that may have
caused this reaction since the FAA admitted that it was not
equipped to do on-board testing.

As I have said, the need for OSHA coverage for flight attendants
is not just because of poor air quality. Deanne Clarke mentioned
other examples of safety and health problems in her testimony.
Flight attendants are being injured and sickened every day by
poorly desiqned carts, in-flight radiation, viral and bacterial
illnesses, lengthy duty days, cabin pressurizatlon, noise, etc.
The fact that we are ill and that the FAA has not acted on these
illnesses has made it crucial for flight attendants to get OSHA
coverage. This is why the Coalition of Flight Attendant Unions,
which represents 70,000 flight attendants at five unions, Is
fighting for inclusion under this Act.

3) Have you or other union officials sought help from OSHA or
FAA?

Early on, as flight attendants were getting sick, I and other
AFA members in Seattle asked OSHA for help. We "^re told that
OSHA would like to help us but was unable to since the FAA had
assumed jurisdiction over flight attendants' safety and health
in 1975.

The Association of Flight Attendants, then ^o'^'^ally ""^^^^^^l^^
iealth Hazard Evaluation from NIOSH in April 1990 °nthe problems
at my carrier. AFA sent a total of nine letters to NIOSH about
?hir%roblem from April 1990 to October 1991. The union
formally requested the National Transportation Safety Board to
conduct an investigation of the airline-s air quality incidents.

In respect to the Federal Aviation Administration, in November
1989, as the local president, I began sending air quality
incident and illness reports to the FAA Principal Operations
Inspector (the POI) for my airline. Flight Attendants continue
to send the company incident and illness reports.

In early 1990, I got the airline to agree to set up a procedure
whereby it would send all of its ongoing irregularity reports on
cabin air quality incidents and illnesses directly to the FAA.
As of September 23, 1993, AFA ' s understanding was that this
procedure was still in effect. Upon inquiry into what FAA is
doing with these reports, AFA just learned that the FAA asked
the airline in September of 1991 not to send any more of these
reports to them. In other words, the FAA has not paid any
attention to our situation for two years. The FAA never informed
AFA of the action, and the company which stopped sending the
reports to the FAA, did not tell AFA of these actions.

In addition, the Association of Flight Attendants has made many
phone calls to FAA officials and wrote to the FAA nine times
about the cabin air quality incidents and illnesses at my
carrier. These letters were sent between January 1990 and July
1991. One of these letters asked the FAA to institute altitude
restrictions on planes with air quality problems. No action was
taken in response to this request.

In March of 1990, AFA formally requested that the FAA investigate
the airline's cabin air quality problems and require immediate
corrective action and follow-up inspections. No action was
taken. In May of 1990, the AFA filed a petition for rulemaking
asking the FAA to adopt OSHA's health and safety standards and
apply them to crewmembers. We considered this petition a major



BUo i*-"' '



, llli

98 3 '9999 05982 562 8



effort to force the FAA to take our occupational safety and
health problems seriously but no proposed or final rule was ever
released.

We have seen four years of sick flight attendants at ray carrier
and the FAA has taken no significant action.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact
jne. Thank you again for all your support in improving the OSHAct
and including flight attendants in Section 4(B)(1).



Sincerely,
Tetry Tityld/^



I. . ' " ^ Cash, Smith & Wages

niq.mi^-aiionftl Development & GovernmnnI AHairs

October 15, 1993



The Honorable Howard Metzenbaum

Chairman

Subcommittee on Labor

608 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

Re: OSHA Reform Hearings on October 5, 1993

Dear Chairman Metzenbaum:

These comments are submitted for the record on behalf of the 21, 000
flight attendants representedby the Association of Professional Flight
Attendants (APFA) at American Airlines. The Subcommittee is to be
commended for taking up the vitally important issue of extending OSHA
jurisdiction to flight attendants.

It is important to point out that the nations' 70,000 flight
attendants currently do not have adequate occupational health and
safety protections from any federal agency. The Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) having failed to ensure adequate health
protections and standards for flight attendants should relinquish that
responsibility to OSHA. The lack of resolve by the FAA to address flight
attendant complaints has been evident over the last 20 years . It is time
action is taken to correct this injustice.

Problems with cabin air quality demonstrate the inability of the
FAA to meet its obligations. The National Academy of Sciences' report


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Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. Senate. Committee on LaboOSHA reform : coverage and enforcement : hearing before the Subcommittee on Labor of the Committee on Labor and Human Resources, United States Senate, One Hundred Third Congress, first session, on examining the scope of coverage and enforcement of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of → online text (page 16 of 17)