A tank-cleaning service company with a long history of exposing its workers to potentially deadly working conditions has been cited for multiple safety violations following one worker death and the hospitalization of two others from a lack of oxygen inside a rail tanker.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said that an air quality test and proper tethering could have prevented the tragedy for the three employees of Dedicated TCS LLC, a New Orleans-based company with about 55 employees in New Orleans and Illinois.
Some of the citations issued against Dedicated TCS included two that OSHA said demonstrated a willful disregard for the health and safety of its workers. Those involved the company’s failure to test atmospheric conditions within the confined space of a tank before allowing workers to enter and failure to evaluate a rescuer’s ability to respond to an emergency in a timely manner and function appropriately inside the confined space of a tank.
OSHA said it has cited Dedicated TCS for the same confined-space violations three times in the past. In April 2012, the agency issued eight serious violations at the company’s location in Channahon. In May 2012, OSHA inspectors found nine serious and two willful violations at Dedicated TCS’s Lansing location. And in July 2014, an investigation in Channahon, Ill., uncovered four serious and seven repeat violations.
After the New Orleans tragedy, Dedicated TCS was also hit with serious violations for failing to complete a respiratory protection program and to medically evaluate workers for fitness prior to providing them with respirators.
Additional citations were given for repeat violations involving its failure to take the necessary steps to guarantee safety in confined spaces, provide appropriate means of retrieving workers from confined spaces, and check and verify appropriate conditions on a permit before letting workers enter a confined space.
“Dedicated TCS continues to ignore crucial safety procedures for working in confined space,” said Dorinda Folse, OSHA’s area director in Baton Rouge. “This is the fourth time OSHA has found this employer in violation of federal safety standards. Sadly, the company’s inaction has cost a man his life.”
OSHA proposed fines of $226,310 for the violations.
Source: U.S Department of Labor