On October 12, 2022, the National Border Patrol Council filed five OSHA complaints — one each in Tucson, El Paso, Del Rio, Laredo, and Rio Grande Valley Sectors. The complaints focused on the U.S. Border Patrol’s (USBP) failure to provide appropriate body armor for Border Patrol Processing Coordinators (BPPC).
Except for two stations, BPPCs are not issued or assigned their own body armor. They have to check out body armor from the armory, basically left to choose from whatever might be available. If nothing is available, they have to find another BPPC whose shift is about to end and “hotswap” the armor — in other words, hot, sweaty body armor gets handed over to the oncoming shift to wear.
Aside from the body armor and carrier never being sanitized or washed, the body armor also is not properly sized to the BPPCs. OSHA requires that when an employer determines body armor is the way they will protect the workforce from gunshots, it is PPE and must be provided, used, and maintained in a sanitary and reliable condition. Dirty, smelly plates and plate carriers are anything but sanitary.
We await the outcome of OSHA’s inquiry and will provide updates.