Feb. 1, 2008
Contact: Dan Fuqua Michael Wald
Phone: 404-562-2078 404-562-2076
SAVANNAH, Ga. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Quala Systems Inc. for 20 serious safety violations with $46,800 in proposed penalties.
An employee of the company's QualaWash tank washing subsidiary died in August 2007 shortly after entering an oxygen-deficient chemical container at the company's facilities in Garden City, Ga.
"Employees working in confined spaces need specialized training and the correct equipment to prevent needless deaths, such as that which occurred in this case," said John J. Deifer, OSHA's area director in Savannah.
OSHA inspectors found that the Tampa, Fla.-based company committed a number of serious safety violations, including failing to provide its employees with proper training in respiratory protection, not providing them with adequate respiratory equipment for tanks containing air contaminants and failing to monitor the work space prior to entry. These failures directly contributed to the employee's death from asphyxia.
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.
Quala Systems Inc. has 15 business days to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by staff from OSHA's Savannah Area Office, 450 Mall Blvd., Suite J; telephone 912-652-4393.
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 assure 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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