Region 6 News Release: 09-279-DAL
March 23, 2009
Contact: Elizabeth Todd
Two contractors cited by U.S. Department of Labor's OSHA for alleged safety and health violations following fatality at Kremlin, Okla., worksite
KREMLIN, Okla. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Oxbow Calcining LLC of Kremlin and Kansas City, Mo.-based Geo. P. Reintjes Co. Inc. for alleged safety and health violations following the death of a worker on North 30th Street in Kremlin.
OSHA's Oklahoma City Area Office began its inspection Sept. 22, 2008, following a release of steam and heated petroleum coke - materials heated in an industrial process - that occurred the day before while workers were removing refractory brick used for lining furnaces in kiln chambers. Three workers employed by Geo. P. Reintjes Co. Inc., the subcontractor, were severely burned, one of whom later died.
"Health and safety standards must be followed to protect employees from injuries and fatalities," said David Bates, OSHA's area director in Oklahoma City, Okla. "If the company had followed OSHA standards, it is possible this tragic accident could have been avoided."
Oxbow Calcining, a subsidiary of the Oxbow Group headquartered in West Palm Beach, Fla., was cited with one willful violation for failing to follow written procedures for demolition of a refractory kiln. Citations also included two serious violations for failing to ensure employees were informed about the hazards associated with hot petroleum coke and failing to ensure workers were using the required personal protective equipment.
Geo. P. Reintjes Co. Inc., doing business as Reintjes Refractory Contractors, was cited with nine serious violations, including failing to use safe operating procedures for normal shut-down and tear-out of refractory materials at the kiln chamber, failing to provide necessary machine guarding and failing to adequately erect scaffolding.
OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with intentional disregard of or plain indifference to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. OSHA issues a serious citation when death or serious injury could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
The agency has proposed $75,600 in penalties for Oxbow Calcining and proposed penalties for Reintjes Refractory totaling $49,050.
Each company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Oklahoma City or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Oklahoma City area employers and employees with questions about safety and health can call 405-278-9560. They can also call OSHA's hotline number at 800-321-6742 to report workplace accidents, fatalities or imminent dangers.
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.
U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.