OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
Region 3 News Release: 04-409-NEW /BOS 2003-065
Wednesday, March 25, 2004
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Office: (617) 565-2074
Alleges Willful and Serious Violations of Safety and Health Standards
TARRYTOWN, N.Y. -- The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Bronx-based Eastmond & Sons Boiler Repair and Welding Service, Inc., for alleged willful and serious violations of safety standards following the deaths of two employees on Sept. 15. The workers were overcome by toxic fumes while cleaning a 4,000-gallon fuel oil tank in the basement of 1876 Arthur Ave. in the Bronx.
"These tragic deaths could have been avoided," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L Chao. "To ensure that workplace fatalities continue to decline, we must make sure that employers protect employees from workplace hazards. The significant penalty of $134,800 in this case sends a strong signal that disregard for worker safety will not be tolerated."
OSHA's inspection found that Eastmond failed to evaluate hazardous conditions in the oil tank before workers entered and while they were working inside it. The company also did not provide workers with equipment to test the air in the tank prior to and during entry and failed to properly prepare and maintain required entry permits. These citations, with $112,000 in proposed fines, were classified as willful. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.
Twelve additional citations were classified as serious. Five addressed the company's failure to implement safe confined space entry procedures; failure to review or revise the confined space program after the fatalities; failure to ensure that supervisors verified proper execution of entry permits; failure to ensure that rescue services and the means to summon them were available; and failure to provide mechanical rescue devices for employees working in confined spaces.
The remaining seven citations involved deficiencies in the company's respiratory protection program, electrical safety hazards, a discharged fire extinguisher and failure to ensure the use of personal protective equipment. A total of $22,800 in fines were proposed for the serious citations. A serious violation is 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.
Eastmond & Sons has chosen to contest the citations and fines before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
OSHA's Tarrytown area office conducted the inspection. Its telephone number is (914) 524-7510.
In fiscal year 2003, the Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted almost 40,000 inspections, an increase of 2,000 inspections over FY 2002 levels; most were focused on high hazard industries. OSHA is dedicated to saving lives, preventing injuries and illnesses, and protecting the health and safety of America's workers. For information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department releases are accessible on the Internet at 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 at (202) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.
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