Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Forest Service negotiating with OSHA over Steep Corner Fire citations and fines

U.S. Forest Service officials are negotiating with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) over citations and fines levied against the agency following the death of a firefighter last August on the Steep Corner Fire near Headquarters. Anne Veseth, 20, Moscow, was killed when she was struck by a falling tree.

According to an OSHA spokeswoman Forest Service officials have disagreed with the conclusions that violations occurred during the fire. OSHA fined the Forest Service and Clearwater-Potlatch Timber Protective Association, which was managing the fire, $14,000 each for alleged violations. A settlement was reached between OSHA and C-PTPA last month, with the citation being revised and the fine reduced from $14,000 to $10,500.

The Forest Service released an investigative report of its own following OSHA’s citation. The Forest Service’s report contrasted OSHA’s report. The Forest Service’s report concluded that the judgment and decisions of the firefighters involved in the fire were appropriate and there were no reckless actions or violations of policy or protocol.

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