Prescott VA Facility Put Workers in Danger, US Labor Department Says

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By Jessica Swarner

July 6, 2023

Two workers died from similar hazards in Connecticut in 2020.

Federal labor officials found that the US Department of Veterans Affairs exposed workers at its facility in Prescott to potentially deadly hazards.

In April, the US Department of Labor said that the Northern Arizona Veterans Affairs Health Care System allowed maintenance workers to work on steam lines without making sure they followed safety protocols. 

The agency’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found the violations during an October 2022 inspection.

Two workers died at a Connecticut VA facility in 2020 after a fixture on a steam line blew off and the steam released, causing fatal burns. OSHA determined that the deaths were preventable.

“Despite the tragic and preventable deaths of two workers at a facility in Connecticut in 2020, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs allowed the same hazards to endanger employees working on steam lines at its Prescott, Arizona, facility,” OSHA Area Director in Phoenix, T. Zachary Barnett, said in a press release.

The Northern Arizona Veterans Affairs Health Care System serves over 33,000 veterans at 12 locations. 

After receiving the notice of violation, the VA had 15 days to comply, request a meeting with OSHA’s area director, or write an appeal. A spokesman for the Department of Labor told The Copper Courier that the VA complied and removed the hazards. 

People who are concerned about hazards at work can file health and safety complaints on OSHA’s website and request an inspection of their workplace.


  • Jessica Swarner

    Jessica Swarner is the community editor for The Copper Courier. She is an ASU alumna and previously worked at KTAR News 92.3 FM in Phoenix.

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