Region 6 News Release: USDL-OSHA-01-54-5-30
Wed., May 30, 2001
Contact: Diana Petterson or Elizabeth Todd
Phone: (214) 767-4776, ext. 222 or 221
OSHA CITES BERRY CONTRACTING LP DBA BAY LTD. IN CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS, FOR SIX ALLEGED SAFETY VIOLATIONS AND PROPOSES $94,500 IN PENALTIES
DALLAS - The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Berry Contracting LP doing business as Bay Ltd. in Corpus Christi, Texas, with six alleged safety violations and proposed penalties totaling $94,500.
Berry Contracting is a maintenance contractor that performs repairs and upgrades to a chemical process system and has 175 workers on site at the Valero Oil Refinery in Corpus Christi and employs 2,600 workers nationwide.
The alleged safety violations were discovered during an OSHA inspection that began Nov. 29, 2000 when two employees working at the Valero Refining Co. in Corpus Christi were exposed to hydrogen sulfide (H2S). One of the employees died a few days after the exposure. The company was cited for one willful and five serious violations. (Valero Refining Co. was cited for nine alleged safety violations with penalties totaling $138,000.)
The one willful violation was for failing to provide personal detection/monitoring equipment for employees working with a possible H2S exposure. H2S paralyzes a person's ability to breath and depending on the amount of exposure, a person can be instantly asphyxiated. A willful violation is defined as one that is committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.
The five serious violations include exceeding maximum peak concentrations and not providing respirator protection for H2S exposures, and deficiencies in the lockout/tagout program. Lockout/tagout refers to labeling and shutting down an energy source in an appropriate manner. A serious violation is defined as one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
Employers or workers who have questions concerning safety and health may contact the OSHA Corpus Christi area office at (361) 888-3420. Or, call OSHA's toll-free hotline number at 1-800-321-6742 to report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers.
Berry Contracting has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to either comply, request an informal conference with the Corpus Christi OSHA area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.