Richmond, Texas, construction company cited by US Labor Department's
OSHA after a worker was killed while cutting a barrel that exploded
SCR Construction Co. cited for 17 safety violations and placed in OSHA's SVEP
RICHMOND, Texas – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited SCR Construction Co. Inc. with 17 safety violations and placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program following the death in January of a worker. The worker was killed when the flammable barrel he was torch cutting exploded at the employer's maintenance yard in Richmond.
"SCR Construction was aware of a near miss involving ignition and overpressurization of another drum just weeks before the fatal explosion, and did nothing to address it, which could have prevented this tragedy," said Mark Briggs, director of OSHA's Houston South Area Office. "It is the employer's responsibility to safeguard the workplace, and that means finding and fixing those hazards that could lead to injury or loss of life."
A willful violation was cited for failing to thoroughly clean drums or barrels containing flammable substances before welding or cutting work to prevent worker exposure to ignition or toxic emissions. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
The 12 serious violations include failing to provide hand and eye protection; lockout and tagout energy sources; train and certify workers on powered industrial trucks; provide machine guarding; properly store and handle compressed gas; and provide hazard communication training. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Four other-than-serious violations include failing to provide an inhalation exposure assessment, respiratory protection, personal protective equipment hazard assessment and mark and inspect the alloy steel and synthetic web slings. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
OSHA has placed SCR Construction Co. Inc. in its SVEP, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. Initiated in June 2010, the program focuses on employers who have demonstrated recalcitrance or indifference to their OSH Act obligations by committing willful, repeated or failure-to-abate violations in one or more of the following circumstances: a fatality or catastrophe situation; in industry operations or processes that expose workers to severe occupational hazards; exposing workers to hazards related to the potential releases of highly hazardous chemicals; and all egregious enforcement actions.
Proposed penalties total $131,670. The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/SCR894104.pdf*. SCR Construction Co. has 15 business days from receipt of the current citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the citations and 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), the agency's Houston South office at 281-286-0583, or its Houston North office at 281-591-2438.
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 or CD from the COAST office upon request by calling 292-693-7828 or TTY 292-693-7755.
* Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.