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TSA at Logan cited for unsafe working conditions

A Transportation Security Administration officer spoke with passengers and inspected their boarding passes at Logan Airport’s Terminal A in August 2011.

Aram Boghosian/Globe Photo/File 2011

A Transportation Security Administration officer spoke with passengers and inspected their boarding passes at Logan Airport’s Terminal A in August 2011.

Federal safety officials have found more than a dozen instances of unsafe working conditions for Transportation Security Administration officers at Logan International Airport, including the potential for severe injury from working near baggage conveyor belts.

Following an inspection concluded in late July, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the TSA for 14 hazards, primarily at baggage belts, baggage inspection rooms, break rooms, and security checkpoints.

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Unguarded moving machinery parts presented the possibility for workers’ fingers or other body parts to be crushed or amputated while inspecting baggage. Electrical equipment such as toasters and X-ray machines weren’t connected properly; flammable materials and fire extinguishers weren’t stored correctly; and unsecured floor mats and deficient ladders presented tripping and falling dangers.

“The safety of our employees, along with the travelers we serve, is a priority for the Transportation Security Administration,” the TSA said in a statement. “Reports of unsafe or unhealthy work conditions are quickly investigated and addressed. TSA will work in tandem with our stakeholders — the airport and airlines — to ensure a safe and healthy work environment.”

The TSA has started addressing some of the issues and has a meeting next week with OSHA, the airlines, and the Massachusetts Port Authority to deal with others. Three TSA agents were injured between September 2010 and January 2012, according to the TSA: The injuries included a laceration after falling off a ladder, a bruised knee, and a blow to the head on a conveyor belt.

OSHA has found similar hazards for TSA workers at five other airports around the country in the past five years, including in Manchester, N.H. A 2010 inspection of the TSA at Logan found nine violations.

Katie Johnston can be reached at kjohnston@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @ktkjohnston.
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