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OSHA News Release – Region 6
U.S. Department of Labor
Region 6 News Release: OSHA-03-598-DAL
Tues., Oct. 28, 2003
Contact: Diana Petterson or Elizabeth Todd
Phone: (214)767-4776, Ext. 222 or 221
OKLAHOMA CITY -- A Tulsa, Okla., company's alleged failure to provide a safe working environment by exposing workers to a fire and explosion has resulted in three citations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the U.S. Department of Labor. Proposed penalties total $75,600.
OSHA began an investigation of Airgas Mid-South Inc., on Aug. 18, in response to a fire and explosion that occurred when a liquefied propylene cylinder vented gas ignited, leading to the explosion. Extensive damage occurred to the facility, as well as nearby local residential properties.
"The company knew exposing gas-contained cylinders to high heat could result in conditions with a potential for fire and explosion," said James Brown, OSHA area director in Oklahoma City. "It is fortunate that no worker was injured in this case."
Airgas Mid-South Inc., headquartered in Tulsa, distributes gas cylinders to medical and industrial businesses. The company employs about 784 employees nationwide with 125 of them working in Tulsa.
OSHA cited the employer with one alleged willful violation for exposing gas-compressed cylinders to solar heating causing them to expel gas, which resulted in the fire and explosion. A willful violation is one in which there is evidence of an intentional violation of the OSHA Act or plain indifference to its requirements.
The two alleged serious violations were issued for failing to perform an initial process hazard analysis for gases such as anhydrous ammonia and propylene, and for not providing appropriate powered industrial trucks for use in a hazardous environment. A serious violation is one that involves a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
Airgas Mid-South has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the Oklahoma City area office, or to contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call OSHA's Oklahoma City area office at (405) 278-9560 or OSHA's toll-free hotline number at 1-800-321-6742 to report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers.
OSHA is dedicated to saving lives, preventing injuries and illnesses, and protecting America's workers. 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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