Employees at the U.S. Navy's Fleet Readiness Center aircraft repair facility at Naval Air Station North Island have been exposed to the toxic substances lead, cadmium and beryllium, the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Thursday.
The federal agency posted notices of 21 violations at the site, which has about 500 workers.
The violations at the facility included, according to OSHA:
- Employees were allowed to store and eat food and drinks in areas contaminated by the toxic chemicals;
- Cadmium and lead were allowed to accumulate;
- Dry sweeping took place in areas that contained cadmium dust and lead dust, and
- No program in place to prevent or control beryllium hazards.
“Exposing workers to metals such as lead, cadmium and beryllium can result in serious illness and even fatal respiratory disease,” said Jay Vicory, director of OSHA's San Diego area office. “We are encouraged by the Department of the Navy's response to OSHA's intervention, and we are working cooperatively with that department to further mitigate the hazards uncovered.”
OSHA did not say whether any employees were actually sickened by exposure to the chemicals.
The violations stem from three inspections that took place last year. The Fleet Readiness Center has 15 days to respond to the notices, according to OSHA.
– City News Service