US Labor Department's OSHA fines 2 government contractors more than
$60,000 after workers injured in November 2012 flash fire
LINTHICUM, Md. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Emcor Group Inc. in Arlington, Va., doing business as Emcor Government Services, and EEC Inc. in Landover, Md., for serious safety violations. These violations include flammable vapor hazards that were found while the contractors replaced commercial ductwork insulation at a building in Washington, D.C. OSHA's November 2012 inspection was prompted after three workers were hospitalized with serious burns from a flash fire that occurred inside the ductwork. Proposed penalties against both companies total $60,200.
Emcor Government Services was cited with six serious violations, carrying a $35,000 penalty, for failing to control flammable 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.
EEC Inc. faces a $25,200 penalty for 16 serious violations, including failing to properly use a ladder and store highly flammable material; control flammable vapors; identify precautions during hot work operations; perform a hazard assessment to determine correct personal protective equipment; and recognize hazards associated with working in confined spaces. Additionally, the company failed to ensure workplace safety during welding operations in a flammable atmosphere, provide hazardous communication training and ensure the use of approved electrical equipment in a flammable atmosphere.
A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.
"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 http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/confinedspaces/index.html
Both contractors have 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director in Baltimore or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Baltimore office at 410-865-2055.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 252-693-7828 or TTY 252-693-7755.