One worker died and two others were hospitalized in an incident in New Orleans last year because their employer failed to follow confined space safety procedures, according to OSHA.
An agency investigation found that Dedicated TCS LLC did not test the atmosphere inside a rail tanker before allowing three workers to enter it on Oct. 8, 2015. The company also failed to require the workers to attach a lifeline to their harnesses – equipment that would have facilitated a rescue.
The men were overcome by a lack of oxygen.
Dedicated TCS faces $226,310 in fines for two willful, three repeat and four serious violations for exposing workers to hazardous health conditions at the New Orleans worksite.
Willful violations include failing to:
- Test atmospheric conditions within a confined space before allowing workers to enter.
- Evaluate a rescuer's ability to respond in a timely manner and function appropriately while rescuing entrants from confined spaces.
Serious violations include failing to:
- Have a complete respiratory protection program.
- To medically evaluate and fit test employees before allowing them to use respirators.
Repeat violations include failing to:
- Take all necessary steps to guarantee safe entry into a confined space
- Provide fixed points or mechanical devices for retrieving workers from a permit-required space.
- Verify and check appropriate entry conditions on a permit before letting workers enter a confined space.
Dedicated TCS has been cited for the same confined space violations three times before, at its locations in Illinois. In April 2012, the agency issued eight serious violations at the company's location in Channahon. In May 2012, inspectors found nine serious and two willful violations at its Lansing location. In July 2014, an investigation in Channahon found four serious and seven repeat violations.
"Dedicated TCS continues to ignore crucial safety procedures for working in confined space." said Dorinda Folse, OSHA's area director in Baton Rouge. "Sadly, the company's inaction has cost a man his life."
Dedicated TCS LLC is a tank cleaning service with about 55 employees in Louisiana and Illinois.
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