Mon., Feb. 23, 2009
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
U.S. Labor Department¿s OSHA cites Schenectady, N.Y., employer for confined space hazards following employee death
ALBANY, N.Y. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Precision Industrial Maintenance Inc. for alleged willful and serious violations of safety and health standards after an employee was fatally overcome by vapors while inside a tanker truck.
The Schenectady, N.Y., environmental and industrial maintenance company was cited following an August 2008 OSHA inspection of its Erie Boulevard facility.
"These citations encompass health and safety hazards associated with work in permit-required confined spaces, such as this one," said Edward Jerome, OSHA's area director in Albany. "These conditions must be addressed promptly and effectively. Left uncorrected, they expose employees to the potential hazard of asphyxia, which can be fatal."
OSHA has issued the company one willful citation, with a $35,000 proposed fine, for not providing employees with confined space rescue training at least every 12 months. Five serious citations, carrying $21,000 in fines, were issued for the company's failure to test conditions in confined spaces before entry; not completing required entry permits; not providing confined space training to employees; not evaluating rescue services for employees entering confined spaces; and lack of confined space warning signs.
OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health. OSHA issues serious citations when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known.
"One of the best means of preventing serious workplace hazards is to establish an effective safety and health management system through which management and employees work together to actively identify, analyze and eliminate work-related hazards," said Jerome.
The company, which faces a total of $56,000 in fines, has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and fines to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. This inspection was conducted by OSHA's Albany Area Office; telephone 518-464-4338. Detailed information on permit-required confined spaces is available on OSHA's Web site at: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/confinedspaces/index.html.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to promote the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
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