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Maintenance Woes Threaten Federal Buildings Workers

Jul 18, 2023 | Public | 0 comments

department of agriculture

Three workers filed federal whistleblower complaints alleging the facility’s conditions are hazardous to workers.   July 19, 2023

Sometimes, deferred maintenance in an institutional or commercial facility results in a leaking roof. Or maybe a string of too-hot or too-cold complaints from occupants. Or perhaps a door that doesn’t close properly.

Other times, though, the results are far more serious. In the case of a federal building in Washington, D.C., they can even imperil the health of staff, occupants and visitors.

Three employees of the largest agricultural research facility in the United States recently filed federal whistleblower complaints alleging that the facility’s conditions are hazardous to workers and undermine their research, according to Reuters.

The Beltsville Agricultural Research Center near Washington D.C. is the largest research facility owned by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and has long been the flagship of U.S. farm research. Yet conditions at the facility have been worsening for years due to deferred maintenance and staff cuts that have left its basic systems in disrepair, according to the documents and interviews.

Five current and one former employee of the facility who said that fume ventilation hoods in labs fail to meet code, fire alarms are left broken for months, wild temperature swings make work uncomfortable and undermine experiments, and toilets and running water are often not functioning.

The employee grievances filed with the U.S. Office of the Special Counsel, which protects federal whistleblowers, cited years of mismanagement and unsafe work conditions.

By Dan Hounsell, Senior Editor 

Dan Hounsell is senior editor of the facilities market. He has more than 30 years of experience writing about facilities maintenance, engineering and management. 

The post "Maintenance Woes Threaten Federal Buildings Workers" appeared first on FN Prime Maintenance & Operations


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