The state Department of Labor and Industry has cited the city’s public school system for 10 “serious” health and safety violations in its maintenance department.
State inspectors cited the division for training violations, as well as for failing to document potential workplace hazards and failing to provide specific, required safety equipment.
A former employee filed a complaint against the division last fall, prompting an inspection. The ex-employee provided to The Virginian-Pilot a copy of the notification sent to the school division in March. The department’s findings have not been publicly released yet.
The school division faces no financial penalty because it’s a public entity, labor department spokeswoman Jennifer Wester said.
Chesapeake schools spokesman Tom Cupitt said the division has been working with the state to remedy the problems.
“Over 90 percent of the infractions have been corrected,” he said. “A lot of them were minor things like doors that should swing out but swing in. We’ll continue to work with them to correct everything they found.”
Any violation involving “potential or actual harm to an employee” is deemed “serious,” Wester said. She added that the department has two levels of violations that are considered to be beyond serious. None of the Chesapeake findings were in those categories.
The department also issued a second citation against the division considered “other than serious” because it involved record-keeping.
In one instance, the division was cited for allowing maintenance employees to access recessed light fixtures in school auditoriums without “required guarded fall protection,” putting them at risk for a fall of roughly 20 feet.
The division also failed to develop, document or use procedures preventing exposure to hazardous energy when employees serviced certain equipment, including air compressors and heavy automotive lifts. This could lead to burns, electrocution and broken bones, among other injuries.
Hattie Brown Garrow, firstname.lastname@example.org
To read the original post, with reader comments, you may find the article on the Virginia Pilot website at this link http://hamptonroads.com/2012/05/chesapeake-schools-cited-health-safety-violations