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OSHA News Release – Region 6
U.S. Department of Labor
Region 6 News Release: OSHA-03-97
Thurs,. June 12, 2003
Contact: Diana Petterson or Elizabeth Todd
Phone: (214)767-4776, Ext. 222 or 221
DALLAS -- A North Little Rock company's alleged failure to train employees and test and ventilate the air in a confined workspace have resulted in proposed penalties of $198,450 from the Little Rock area office of the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
OSHA began its investigation of Bruce Oakley Inc. on Dec. 16, 2002, in response to a referral by the Arkansas Department of Labor. The company, which employs about 120 workers at its marine cargo handling facility on Lincoln Avenue in North Little Rock, was cited for three alleged willful, 15 serious and two other-than-serious violations.
"Although no one was injured at this worksite, many fatalities have occurred when untrained workers have entered confined spaces with unsafe atmospheric conditions," said Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "OSHA standards are clear. Workers must test the air to ensure it is safe before each and every time they enter a confined space."
The three alleged willful violations were for failing to test the atmosphere within a silo, bin, or tank prior to entry and properly train employees prior to their entry into a silo, bin or tank; failing to ensure that confined spaces were tested for oxygen content prior to entry and that employees were properly trained prior to entry in those spaces. A willful violation is defined as an intentional disregard of or plain indifference to the OSHA law and regulation requirements.
Some of the 15 alleged serious violations were for failing to ensure employees entering bins, silos or tanks were provided with and used body harnesses with lifelines; safety devices on industrial trucks were operative; moving winch parts were adequately guarded, appropriate stop controls were provided on winches; guardrails were provided for floor or wall openings; power supply to machines was locked and/or tagged out prior to servicing the machines and employees were provided and used appropriate eye protection and person flotation devices. A serious violation is one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result.
The two other-than-serious violations were for failing to maintain a record of monthly inspections of cranes and failing to guard conveyors against adjacent danger zones. 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.
Bruce Oakley Inc. has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the Little Rock area director or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Employers or workers who have questions concerning safety and health may contact the Little Rock Area Office at (501) 324-6291 or OSHA's toll-free hotline at 1-800-321-6742. To utilize the free consultation offered by the Arkansas Department of Labor Consultation Service, call (501) 682-4520. OSHA is dedicated to assuring worker safety and health. Safety and health add value to business, the workplace and life. For more information, visit www.osha.gov
U.S. Labor Department news releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov.
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