Wednesday, May 2, 2012
The city has spent close to a quarter-million dollars to comply with Occupational Safety and Health regulations in the wake of training, equipment and safety deficiencies within the High Point Fire Department that were flagged by state inspectors last year.
The High Point Enterprise reported that $249,829 was spent to correct the HPFD problems and to upgrade equipment and safety practices across other departments in 2011 and so far this year, according to figures from the city.
Officials said the cost of compliance with OSHA and other regulatory agencies is a continuous process that requires ongoing funding and, in general, has been absorbed within city departments’ individual budgets. After OSHA fined the fire department last year, officials said they took a critical look at safety issues throughout the city for items that needed to be repaired or replaced.
“The safety of our employees is what is most important,” said City Manager Strib Boynton. “My assessment is that we’ve made incredible progress in a short amount of time.”
The city paid the state $57,000 in a negotiated settlement over the fines last year, but that wasn’t the end of the OSHA-related expenditures.
The most expensive OSHA citation to correct was replacing firefighters’ worn and deficient turnout gear, which cost $180,000. Personal protective gear was evaluated citywide and some was replaced, at a cost of $8,000.