Air Force Depot Maintenance:

Status of Safety Initiatives

NSIAD-94-37: Published: Oct 28, 1993. Publicly Released: Nov 5, 1993.

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Mark E. Gebicke
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Air Force's efforts to improve depot maintenance safety and training at the San Antonio Air Logistics Center (ALC), focusing on the: (1) effectiveness of Air Force actions in response to prior recommendations; and (2) status of improvements to the safety program at the San Antonio ALC.

GAO found that: (1) conditions at the San Antonio ALC raise concerns regarding whether the safety program has achieved desired safety improvements; (2) although the San Antonio ALC has undertaken several efforts to correct maintenance safety and training deficiencies, problems remain; (3) accidents and injuries at the San Antonio ALC have increased over the past few years; (4) continued corrective and preventative safety improvement efforts are needed to reduce the likelihood of mishaps in the future; (5) accident data do not reflect all instances when workers are away from their assigned duties because of accident or injury and do not indicate when workers cannot perform their normal duties or are assigned to some other work; (6) inadequate mishap data overstate the safety conditions at ALCs and reduce the likelihood that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will target ALCs for inspection; and (7) OSHA should revise its guidelines for computing lost workdays to ensure that mishap data are accurate.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On September 24, 1993, the Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Environmental Security) tasked the Air Force to direct that AFMC establish command-wide safety improvement initiatives with quantifiable targets and goals. AFMC established such goals for fiscal year 1994.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Air Force should direct the Commander, Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC), to establish commandwide safety improvement initiatives with quantifiable targets and goals.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AFMC is using the Safety Program Evaluation Process to measure compliance with the Occupational Safety Program Requirements across the command. The Department reports that these evaluations will be accomplished at least once every three years. Additionally, the non-safety program deficiencies identified in GAO's draft report were validated by the AFMC Inspector General from October 24-29, 1993, and will be specifically addressed by the appropriate logistics and civil engineering functional managers.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Air Force should direct the Commander, AFMC, to continue to use the Safety Process Effectiveness Reviews to measure the extent to which ALC have implemented safety improvements.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OSHA made some changes to its lost time injury reporting, but did not revise the procedures to require that time spent on restricted duty be counted as lost time.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Labor should require the Acting Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health to change OSHA guidelines for lost time injury reporting for federal agencies to require the identification of restricted time when workers cannot perform their regularly assigned duties as a result of injury or accidents.

    Agency Affected: Department of Labor


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