OSHA has cited Dana Railcare – based in Wilmington, Delaware – for confined space hazards after an employee fatality in Pittston, Pennsylvania. The railcar service provider faces $551,226 in proposed penalties. 

An employee was asphyxiated in May 2019, while servicing a rail car containing crude oil sludge. OSHA cited the company for four willful and three serious violations for failing to protect employees from the hazards of entering permit-required confined spaces, and inadequate respiratory protection procedures. OSHA has placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

"This tragedy could have been prevented if the employer had followed proper safety procedures for entering and cleaning railcars," said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt. "Employers that fail to comply with the law will continue to see full and fair enforcement."

"Companies are legally required to test and monitor confined spaces for oxygen content before and during entry to confined spaces," said OSHA Wilkes-Barre Area Director Mark Stelmack.

OSHA offers several resources on Confined Spaces, including an Atmospheric Testing in Confined Spaces fact sheet, and a Permit-Required Confined Spaces booklet.