The last round of OSHA citations released today and found more high exposure levels of carcinogens in different areas on the base.
Kristen Edwards, a former Robins Air Force Base worker, sampled the air and surface contamination. Edwards says at times base officials restrained her from telling employees about contamination issues. She recalls a luncheon on the base that happened last summer:
Edwards: "I took these swipes on a day that people were eating on carts with visible green and yellow stromium chromate dusts and cadmium. I was not allowed to tell the employees."
Dustin: "So you had to sit there and watch people potentially ingest that?"
Dustin: "What was that like?"
Edwards: "Sickening, very sickening."
Edwards, a former Bio-environmental Engineer Technician, left Robins Air Force Base last October because she felt she was not allowed to perform her job to fullest.
"Working at Robins Air Force Base was the first installation I've ever worked at where I felt threatened and feared reprisal for doing my job," said Edwards.
After spending more than four years at Tinker Air Force Base in
"I had employees come to me and keep asking me Sergeant Edwards can we get those reports? I am not allowed to do that. I have to follow protocol. It has to go to my supervisor and my supervisor's supervisor before I am allowed to convey those results," said Edwards.
The most recent OSHA citations found high levels of chromium (VI) in the break room of building 350. The carcinogen was found on top of the hot dog maker, on the side of the toaster oven, and on top of the TV cabinet. Now all three rounds of OSHA citations found high carcinogen levels in different areas on the base. One question that remains unanswered is when base officials first knew about the issue.
"So what this is an expansion of where some of those a risks had existed previously have no identified it in additional facilities. But to your specific question I can't tell you exactly a date when those issues were first identified," said Maj. Gen. Robert McMahon.
Edwards says better training for employees on equipment use and cleaning could lower exposure levels and create a safer environment for workers.
"You want to make sure that the employees are trained on how they're supposed use that hepavac, trained on the cleaning. The problem is that everyone says production, production and when you rush your employees about production and that's how you rate them, there's going to be shortcuts," said Edwards.
The base has until March 14th to fix the most recent carcinogen citations. Any base employee that feels they may have health complications due to contaminant exposure should contact Occupational Medical Personnel on the Base.