Workplace Safety and Health Hazards at DOD Installations

HRD-80-20: Published: Dec 12, 1979. Publicly Released: Dec 17, 1979.

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A review was conducted of the efforts made to identify and correct workplace safety and health hazards at Department of Defense (DOD) installations.

DOD has identified and corrected many hazards as part of its safety and health programs. However, many serious hazards have remained uncorrected for long periods of time. The primary reason why hazards remain uncorrected is a lack of funds; many hazards would be costly to correct. The DOD cost estimate of $500 million to correct all serious hazards is significantly understated. However, many corrections could be made at little cost. In such cases, greater management attention is needed to assure compliance with existing safety and health standards. Since the Occupational Safety and Health Administration cannot require DOD installations to correct the hazards, DOD must enforce standards itself. An effective program to correct existing safety and health hazards requires a realistic estimate of how many hazards exist in the workplace and how much it would cost to correct them. Although DOD Instructions provide for such estimates for each installation, it does not require the consolidation of these estimates into a DOD-wide estimate.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should annually advise the House and Senate Appropriations Committees in its budget justification of the funds needed to eliminate workplace hazards and what DOD has done to eliminate workplace hazards. For those hazards which can be corrected or minimized at a relatively small cost, the Secretary should require that installations: correct such identified hazards with available funds; provide appropriate personal protective equipment until engineering controls can be implemented, or for work situations where engineering controls are not feasible; and provide additional training as needed to workers and supervisors regarding the importance and proper use of personal protective equipment.

    Agency Affected:


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