Two workers killed in Texas combustible dust flash fire
Multiple safety violations for three companies
OSHA has cited Watco Mechanical Services, Jordan General Contractors Inc. and JP Electric after a combustible dust flash fire claimed the lives of two workers at a Hockley, Texas work site. Proposed penalties for the three companies total $119,840.
OSHA began its investigation on Aug. 19, 2012, at the Watco Mechanical Services work site, where workers were conducting blasting operations in the facility's tank and hopper building. Employees were cutting metal with a torch when a fire broke out, killing two workers employed by Magnolia, Texas-based Jordan General Contractors.
Jordan General Contractors was cited with seven serious violations for failing to develop and implement a respiratory program; provide training on the hazards of working with combustible dust; ensure cutting operations are halted in the presence of combustible dust; ensure the use of a body belt when working in an aerial lift; and ensure aerial lift loads do not exceed required limits.
OSHA cited Pittsburg, Kan.-based Watco Mechanical Services with 14 serious violations, including failing to adequately control fugitive emissions of combustible dust; keep work areas clean of combustible dust; provide warning signs to alert employees of combustible dust hazards; and keep emergency cylinder respirators fully charged. Additionally, confined space violations were found, including failing to identify and evaluate confined space hazards and develop and implement confined space procedures. OSHA also cited the company with two other-than-serious violations for failing to certify the use of emergency respirators and document filter changes.
Conroe, Texas-based JP Electric, which assisted in demolition activities, was cited with one serious safety violation for failing to prohibit cutting operations in the presence of combustible dust.
"This incident underscores the seriousness of exposing workers to the inadequate control of combustible dust," said David Doucet, OSHA's area director at its Houston North office.
Citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/WATCOMechanicalServices_587438_021513.pdf*