A forthcoming report from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration will find that an aircraft maintenance building at Robins Air Force Base is in violation of federal safety regulations, base officials acknowledged Friday afternoon.
OSHA inspectors had been looking at base facilities for the past 14 months. Air Force and OSHA officials recently warned Robins officials that federal regulators have zeroed in on Building 169, a 402nd Maintenance Wing facility.
The building is a repair facility for component parts of the F-15, C-5, C-17 and C-130 aircraft that are maintained on the base. About 200 employees work in the building.
“During recent OSHA visits to our commodities maintenance group ... there were process issues identified that alledgedly did not meet OSHA standards,” Greg Stanley, vice director of the 402nd Maintenance Wing, said in a prepared statement.
OSHA officials will present their findings to the 402nd Maintenance Wing command staff on Thursday, Stanley said. An official OSHA report will follow.
While notifying Robins officials of the tenor of the report, OSHA has not specifically identified what has been found to be unsafe inside Building 169.
“We don’t know because we haven’t seen the report,” Stanley said.
The 402nd Maintenance Wing has begun revamping safety procedures ahead of the report.
“We’ve taken a number of actions since OSHA was here,” said Ellen Griffith, the director 402nd Commodities Maintenance Group, a subordinate unit of the 402nd Maintenance Group. “They’ve made some recommendations, which we jumped right on.”
Specifically, the unit has evaluated sanding procedures, Griffith said, updating equipment and protective gear.
Stanley hinted that the unit would object to some of the report’s findings, saying that “there will be findings that the 402nd Maintenance Wing may have a different view or opinion of than OSHA,” but adding, “we will make the recommended changes.”
Robins officials do not expect that the facility will need to be temporarily closed, but Stanley cautioned that “until we see the report, we really can’t say definitely that’s the case.”
This is not the first time that OSHA has taken an interest in Robins operations.
Last year, OSHA levied $80,000 in fines against ASM-Sanders Inc., an Alabama-based contracting company that provides construction support for Robins, after a March 2009 accident killed one of its workers on base.
An OSHA investigation of the incident found ASM-Sanders to be in “willful violation” of employee safety regulations. No Robins employees were implicated in the report.
ASM-Sanders formally appealed the fines in July 2009.
To contact writer Thomas L. Day, call 744-4489.