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OSHA News Release – Region 6
U.S. Department of Labor
Region 6 News Release: USDL-OSHA-00-08-2-2
Wed., Feb. 2, 2000
Contact: Diana Petterson
PHONE: (214) 767-4776, ext. 222
OSHA CITES AMERICAN RAILCAR INDUSTRIES, INC., IN LONGVIEW, TEXAS, WITH PROPOSED FINES OF $303,500
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited American Railcar Industries, Inc., in Longview, Texas, with 24 alleged safety and health violations and proposed penalties of $303,500, announced the U.S. Department of Labor.
American Railcar Industries refurbishes railcars such as tankers and employs about 99 workers at its Longview facility. American Car and Foundry is the parent company of four American Railcar Industry facilities that employs about 200 workers.
The citations resulted from an OSHA investigation that began Aug. 4, 1999 from a complaint that expanded into a comprehensive inspection.
OSHA cited the company with three willful, 20 serious and two other-than-serious violations.
The three willful violations were for failure to provide and require the use of a complete fall protection system while employees were engaged in work on the top of rail cars; an inadequate rescue capability for employees performing work in the confined space of a railcar and for an inadequate assessment of confined spaces within railcars. Confined space is defined as a space that is large enough for an employee to enter but has a limited or restricted means of entry or exit, such as tanks, and is not designed for continuous employee occupancy. A willful citation is defined as an intentional disregard of or plain indifference to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
The majority of the 20 serious violations were for confined space entry hazards. Other serious citations were issued regarding hazards associated with the refurbishing of railcars and unsafe scaffolding, welding and electrical hazards. A serious violation is one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result.
The two other-than- serious violation was for incomplete record keeping and defective tires on a fork lift.
"Employees who enter a confined space could be exposed to an environment that is oxygen deficient or could contain hazardous materials that could potentially asphyxiate them," said Katherine Delaney, OSHA District Director in Dallas. " The employer did not practice procedures which determined whether the environment of the confined space, especially when work inside can disturb its surfaces, was potentially hazardous to the employees."
American Railcar Industries has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the area director or to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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