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Region 4 News Release: USDOL: 99-216
Monday, December 06, 1999
Contact: Clyde Payne
PHONE: (601) 965-4606
GULFPORT EXPLOSION LEADS TO PENALTIES TOTALING $22,350 FOR SAFETY VIOLATIONS
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Southern Scrap Recycling Gulfcoast and E and K Enterprises, Inc. for safety violations at a Gulfport, Miss., scrap yard. The citations carry penalties totaling $22,350.
According to Clyde Payne, OSHA's Jackson area director, the inspection was triggered by a fire and explosion at the scrap yard during installation of new gas lines to supply oxygen and propane for welding purposes. Three employees were injured in the accident, one losing part of a leg, another part of a foot and, the third victim, a lower arm.
Citations against scrap yard operator Southern Scrap Recycling and E and K Enterprises, a welding contractor, addressed numerous welding violations, including failing to guard against mixing of fuel gases and oxygen.
Both companies were also cited for allowing employees to work in an unprotected trench with vertical walls and for failing to provide them with training on the hazards associated with trench work.
"These two companies exposed their employees to hazards that frequently lead to injury and even death," said Payne. "As a result of the welding safety deficiencies, three workers suffered serious permanent injuries, and several others were exposed to potential cave-in while working in an unsloped, unshored excavation. A good safety and health program would have prevented this terrible tragedy."
Serious violations, like those cited against the two firms, result when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
Southern Scrap Recycling Gulfcoast, a Division of Southern Scrap Material Co., L.L.C. located in New Orleans, employs 25 workers at the Gulfport facility where metal products are processed. Welding contractor E and K Enterprises has two employees working at the Gulfport location.
The companies have 15 working days to contest OSHA's citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Inspections of the worksite were conducted by OSHA's area office located at 3780 I-55 North, Suite 210, Jackson, Miss. 39211-6323; telephone: (601) 965-4606.
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