Inspectors: Robins in ‘full conformance’ with environmental standards in new review

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE — An 11-person inspection team has declared the base to be in “full conformance” with environmental standards and operating the most effective occupational health program among the three logistics centers in the Air Force Materiel Command.

The environmental side of the two-phased review looked at air quality, hazardous materials management and disposal, use of pesticides along with care of natural and cultural resources.

The “full conformance” rating included no new findings by the inspection team.

“I’m very pleased,” Betty McCoy, chief of the environmental division in the 78th Civil Engineering Group, said in a Robins news release. “We’ve never had no new findings.”

Occupational health inspectors looked at 73 shops in the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center’s vast industrial complex, assessing safety compliance and the use of personal protective equipment. No critical findings were uncovered during the review although six major and 49 minor deviations were reported.

Lt. Col. Stephen Novak, chief of bioenvironmental engineering, said the 55 write-ups are a 50 percent reduction from the previous inspection three years ago and the best report ever compiled by an air logistics center. The Chicago native said the very positive outcome is proof of significant progress in workplace safety.

Many of the findings were for the same deviation in multiple workplaces, Novak said.

“For example, the inspectors found several instances of latex gloves being used and each instance resulted in a separate finding,” he noted in the release.

“Latex gloves are not adequate protection from a hazardous chemical. The problem results from improper ordering of supplies and that can be fixed.”

The Air Force Academy graduate said he was also troubled by workers eating in hazardous areas, but his overall assessment is extremely positive.

“I’ve been doing this for about 18 years and this is by far the most involved I’ve seen the worker population,” he said by telephone Wednesday.

“Here at Robins, workers want to partner with us to make sure they are protected. They understand the hazards, the problems and they want to control those hazards.”

To contact Gene Rector, call 923-3109, extension 239.