US Labor Department's OSHA cites Vann Energy Services in
Nixon, Texas, for violations after 2 workers injured in fire
NIXON, Texas – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Vann Energy Services LLC in Nixon with 13 safety and health violations – including two willful and three repeat – for exposing workers to flash fires and other hazards. OSHA's Austin Area Office opened an inspection after two workers were injured by a fire that occurred in an oil and gas field tank. Proposed penalties total $246,000.
Inspectors found that the employer had failed to ensure that the air inside the tank was tested for flammable or toxic materials before providing employees with electrical equipment that is capable of causing a potentially flammable environment to ignite.
The repeat violations include failing to provide eye and face protection, communicate chemical hazard information to workers and protect flexible electric cords from damage. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. OSHA cited the company for similar violations in August 2011.
One of the willful violations involves failing to implement a respiratory protection program that includes an evaluation of respiratory hazards, medical evaluations for workers, fit testing, training, and the proper means to clean and store the respirators. The other violation involves failing to implement a permit-required confined space entry program that includes atmospheric testing, proper written permits, a qualified attendant and rescue plans. 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.
Eight serious violations include failing to ensure that electrical equipment such as a portable lamp is approved for hazardous locations, maintain electrical conductors and cords in a safe operating condition, train workers on the proper use of personal protective equipment, consult workers on confined space entry procedures and maintain fire extinguishers in a proper working condition. 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.
"The employer was notified in August 2011 of possible fire hazards, yet failed to take corrective action and ultimately two workers suffered the consequences," said Casey Perkins, OSHA's area director in Austin. "Failing to implement safety precautions and continuing to put workers' lives at risk is unacceptable and will not be tolerated."
The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Vann_Energy_Services_315631143_11152012.pdf*.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Austin 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 Austin office at 512-374-0271.
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 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.
* Accessibility Assistance Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.