OSHA has cited Phoenix Industrial Cleaning for 28 serious safety violations following the death of a worker who fell from ladder inside of a storage tank, apparently after being overcome by methylene chloride vapors at a chemical manufacturing facility in Wheeling, Ill. on Nov. 29, 2012.
"Phoenix Industrial Cleaning failed in its responsibility to evaluate working conditions and provide proper respiratory and personal protective equipment to workers,” said Diane Turek, OSHA's area director for the Chicago North Area Office in Des Plaines.
Numerous confined space violations
Eighteen of the serious violations involve confined space entry requirements, such as failing to develop and implement a confined space entry program for workers cleaning chemical storage tanks; train workers on acceptable entry conditions; provide testing and monitoring equipment for atmospheric hazards; provide a means of communication between workers entering a confined space and the attendant; provide rescue emergency equipment and a retrieval system to facilitate a no-entry rescue; have proper entry-control permits; and determine the proficiency of rescue service available to perform emergency rescue for exposure to hazardous chemicals.
Five of the serious violations that involve OSHA's respiratory protection standards include failing to evaluate the respiratory hazards present and select appropriate respiratory protection based on such hazards, provide a written respiratory protection program and train workers on such a program and conduct medical evaluations for workers required to use respiratory protection and proper fit-testing respiratory protection.
Additional serious violations involve OSHA's methylene chloride standard, such as failing to provide workers with information and training on the hazards associated with methylene chloride, assess exposure and provide effective protective garments.
Confined space informational resources
A confined space has limited or restricted means for entry or exit, and it is not designed for continuous employee occupancy. Confined space hazards are addressed in specific standards. For more information see, www.osha.gov/SLTC/confinedspaces/index.html.
OSHA has proposed fines of $77,200.
The Berkeley, Ill.- based company performs industrial cleaning of cooking exhaust ventilation, tanks, silos and similar equipment at industrial and commercial work sites. OSHA has conducted four previous inspections, two of which resulted in citations for violating standards on confined spaces. The last OSHA inspection was in 2001.