Employees at the U.S. Navy's Fleet Readiness Center aircraft repair facility at Naval Air Station North Island have been exposed to the toxic substances lead, cadmium and beryllium, the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced Thursday.
" Sign Up For Breaking News Alerts" Like Us On Facebook" Follow Us On Twitter
The federal agency posted notices of 21 violations at the site. The FRC maintains and repairs Navy and Marine Corps aircraft and employs roughly 500 people.
10News learned inspectors were called to the facility because an employee initiated a complaint. What worried inspectors were that the toxic materials were found in places they shouldn't have been.
The violations at the facility included, according to OSHA:
-- employees were allowed to store and eat food and drinks in areas contaminated by the toxic chemicals -- cadmium and lead were allowed to accumulate -- dry sweeping took place in areas that contained cadmium dust and lead dust -- no program was in place to prevent or control beryllium hazards
"Exposing workers to metals such as lead, cadmium and beryllium can result in serious illness and even fatal respiratory disease," said Jay Vicory, director of OSHA's San Diego area office. "We are encouraged by the Department of the Navy's response to OSHA's intervention, and we are working cooperatively with that department to further mitigate the hazards uncovered."
Two of the three, Vicory, said are known to cause lung cancer and other ailments.
OSHA did not say whether any employees were actually sickened by exposure to the chemicals.
The violations stem from three inspections that took place last year. The Fleet Readiness Center has 15 days to respond to the notices, according to OSHA.
The Navy is cooperating fully and has implemented a 38-step plan of action to address the violations.
Among the solutions, no more dry sweeping of the floor to prevent materials from becoming airborne and stricter enforcement of procedures when entering lunch and break rooms.
Copyright Do you have more information about this story? Click here to contact usCopyright 2012 by 10News.com. City News Service contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.