Jan. 6, 2015
Chemical cleanup workers still exposed to dangerous hazards
Dedicated TCS employees not provided safety gear and other protections
CHANNAHON, Ill. – For the third time in two years, a chemical tank cleaning service has exposed workers cleaning portable tank wagons to dangerous confined space hazards. Responding to a complaint, U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors found seven repeated and two serious violations at Dedicated TCS LLC's Channahon site. OSHA has proposed penalties of $79,464.
"Once again, Dedicated TCS has failed to protect its workers and expects them to work with hazardous materials such as hydroxide and nitrogen chemical residue in dangerous spaces without safety equipment," said Kathy Webb, OSHA's area director in Calumet City. "The company's failure to safeguard its employees is a consistent and unacceptable habit. It must stop now."
During a July 28, 2014, inspection, OSHA found that Dedicated TCS gas meters were not in working condition, and neither rescue and retrieval devices nor appropriate lighting for use in permit-required confined spaces were provided. A confined space is one large enough for workers to enter and perform certain jobs, such as a tank wagon, but it has limited or restricted means for entry or exit and is not designed for continuous occupancy.
The company also failed to train workers about the hazards they faced and how to use personal protective equipment when working with chemical residue. Inspectors also found that the entry supervisor did not verify that all safety requirements were met before allowing workers to enter the tank wagons.
Dedicated TCS was cited for the same violations at the Channahon facility in September 2012 and the company's Lansing facility in November 2012. OSHA issues repeated violations if an employer previously was cited for the same or a similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.
The July 2014 inspection also found slip, trip and fall hazards on floors and stairs and used, damaged extension cords, resulting in two serious violations. An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings 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 Calumet City Area Office at 708-891-3800.
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.
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Release Number: 14-2325-CHI
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