OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
Region 6 News Release: OSHA-03-127
Thurs., July 3, 2003
Contact: Diana Petterson or Elizabeth Todd
Phone: (214)767-4776, Ext. 222 or 221
to Implement Confined Space Standards
Death of Two Workers at Kiewit Offshore Services Ltd. in Ingleside, Texas,
Brought Company $294,000 Fine
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas -- Kiewit Offshore Services Ltd., has agreed to pay $294,000 in penalties for citations issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for the company's failure to implement standards that protect workers against welding hazards while working in a confined space. Two workers, one employed by Kiewit and the other employed by subcontractor R.B.T. Welders Inc., were killed in a January accident at the company's Ingleside facility.
"It is a tragedy when workers are killed or injured because employers did not follow the rules set out to protect them," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "I am pleased that Kiewit has agreed to make the changes needed to save lives. The implementation of these changes will improve the safety and health of all the workers in the company."
According to John Giefer, OSHA's area director in Corpus Christi, OSHA investigated the Jan. 6 fatalities of two welders, one employed by Kiewit and the other employed by R.B.T. Welders, at Kiewit's Ingleside, Texas, facility. The welders were fabricating steel highway bridge footings for barge transport to a new San Francisco Bay bridge. They were killed when accumulated fuel gas ignited in the confined space where they were working.
The company was cited for 10 safety and health violations for failing to implement elements of the "permit required confined space" standard; failing to remove welding fuel gas hoses during downtime; not using adequate ventilation for welding operations performed in a permit space; and failing to use electrical equipment according to instructions. The "permit required confined space" standard must be followed when work is performed within a confined space, such as a bridge compartment footing. The standard calls for testing the air in a confined space, coordination of entry with multiple employers, permit use, rescue provisions, and training of workers on the potential hazards prior to assigned duties.
Kiewit, a subsidiary of Peter Kiewit Sons' Inc. in Omaha, Neb., employs about 200 workers at the Ingleside, Texas, facility. Nationwide the parent company employs about 900 workers.
R.B.T. Welders Inc. of Raceland, La., was a subcontractor at the Ingleside, Texas, facility and has been cited with 20 serious safety violations and fined $106,200.
A serious violation is one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a violation about which the employer knew or should have known.
Employers and employee with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call the Corpus Christi OSHA area office at (361) 888-3420. OSHA's toll-free hotline number may be used to report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers. The number is 1-800-321-6742.
OSHA is dedicated to saving lives, preventing injuries and illnesses. 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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