ambulanceAn OSHA inspection prompted by three workers being hospitalized for serious burns from a flash fire has resulted in $60,000 in fines against two government contractors.

Violations against Emcor Group Inc. in Arlington, Va. -- doing business as Emcor Government Services -- and EEC Inc. in Landover, Md. included failing to:

  • control hazardous vapors
  • address hazards associated with working in confined spaces
  • identify precautions during hot work operations
  • ensure safe performance of welding operations in a flammable atmosphere and
  • ensure the use of approved electrical equipment in a flammable atmosphere

The flash fire occurred inside ductwork whose insulation was being replaced. The site was a commercial  building in Washington, D.C.

Emcor Government Services was cited with six serious violations, EEC Inc. for 16 serious violations, including failing to properly use a ladder and store highly flammable material, provide hazardous communication training and ensure the use of approved electrical equipment in a flammable atmosphere.

"Confined spaces are commonly characterized by toxic, oxygen-deficient or flammable atmospheres that can be deadly for employees working in those spaces," said Michael Stracka, acting director of OSHA's Baltimore Area Office. "No worker should ever enter a confined space until the atmosphere has been tested, atmospheric hazards have been eliminated or proper respiratory protection is supplied and used, and adequate rescue procedures are in place."

Detailed information on confined space hazards and proper work procedures is available at