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OSHA News Release – Region 5
U.S. Department of Labor
Region 5 News Release: 06-333-chi
Date: March 20, 2006
Contact: Brad Mitchell
CINCINNATI -- The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $173,000 in fines against TEPPCO Partners LP and EPCO Inc. and their successors, for unsafe operation of the Todhunter Terminal, a Monroe, Ohio, facility primarily operating to receive, store, distribute and ship refined petroleum products.
OSHA opened an accident investigation at Todhunter Terminal following a September 2005 explosion that took the life of one worker. As a result of that inspection, OSHA issued citations alleging 15 serious violations with penalties totaling $103,000 and two repeat violations with $70,000 in proposed penalties for failure to comply with federal workplace safety and health standards.
Among the serious violations cited were inadequate standard operating procedures for handling propane gas, lack of self-closing valves, lack of training for employees, and use of radio-phones that were not intrinsically safe in hazardous locations. Alleged repeat violations included failure to perform inspections and tests on equipment that controlled the flow of water and propane, lack of written mechanical integrity procedures and failure to correct items found during mandated internal compliance audits of the facility.
"Working with flammable gases requires specialized equipment and procedures," said OSHA Area Director Richard Gilgrist, Cincinnati. "When those elements are lacking, tragedies can and do occur."
OSHA last inspected the Todhunter Terminal following a 2002 accident in which a worker was fatally overcome by butane fumes. TEPPCO Partners is headquartered in Houston, Texas, as the Texas Eastern Products Pipeline Company LLC. The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to appeal before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department (DOL) 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. Call (202) 693-7773 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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