OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
Region 1 USDL 04-20-BOS/BOS 2004-012
Thursday, January 15, 2004
Contact: John M. Chavez
Phone: (617) 565-2075
HARTFORD -- A July 3 explosion of an asphalt tank at a Framingham, Mass. company that killed a worker could have been prevented if the company had taken the proper safety precautions, according to the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
As a result of the agency's investigation of the fatal explosion, OSHA has issued citations alleging willful and serious safety violations to Triram Corporation of 721 Waverly St., including proposed penalties totaling $52,500.
The investigation revealed that a contractor was directed to do welding work on top of a 10,000-gallon tank without being told about the tank's volatile contents.
"This was a tragedy that could have been avoided," said Richard Fazzio, OSHA's area director for northeastern Massachusetts. "The company should have followed required safety procedures and informed workers about the dangers of the hazardous materials in the workplace."
The alleged "willful" violation, which carries a proposed penalty of $35,000, charges Triram Corporation with failing to implement a hazard communication program. The company did not inform the welding contractor about hazards related to flammable vapors produced by heated asphalt and chemicals in the tank being welded.
The company is also charged with five alleged "serious" violations of OSHA safety standards for: failing to ensure containers of hazardous chemicals were labeled with proper contents and hazard warnings; failing to assure that containers of toxic or flammable substances were either filled with water or cleaned thoroughly and vented and tested prior to welding, cutting or heating; failing to equip above-ground storage tanks with a pressure release device; and exposing employees to fire or explosion from a tank that stored flammable liquid adjacent to a main building. Proposed fines for these alleged violations total $17,500.
OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with intentional disregard or plain indifference to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations. It defines a serious violation as one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.
Triram Corporation has 15 business days from receipt of these citations to either elect to comply with them, to request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. OSHA's Methuen area office conducted this inspection. Its telephone number is 617-565-8110.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration 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 releases are accessible on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call (202) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755.
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