OSHA Cites Pair of Okla. Employers for Safety Violations

February 9, 2005

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited L&L Construction Inc., Jenks, Okla., and Raven Lining Systems Inc., Tulsa, Okla., for a total of 23 alleged safety and health violations following the investigation of a fatal accident last August.

The investigation began Aug. 17, 2004, after a worker died from exposure to hydrogen sulfide at a Tulsa wastewater treatment plant. Penalties for both employers total $94,800.

“An L&L Construction employee died of asphyxiation and another was injured when they entered a confined space and were exposed to hydrogen sulfide,” said James Brown, OSHA area director in Oklahoma City. “The employer did not conduct air monitoring and did not require workers to use respirators.”

L&L Construction, a builder of waste water pumping stations, was cited for two alleged willful and 14 alleged serious violations. The willful citations are for failing to monitor and test the confined space before allowing workers to enter. Willful violations are cited when a company has demonstrated plain indifference or intentional disregard for safety and health standards.

Alleged serious violations include failing to provide an appropriate respirator; failing to provide a medical evaluation to determine the employee’s ability to use a respirator; failing to provide respirator training; failing to conduct evaluations of the workplace; failing to provide safe entry and exit to a confined space, and failing to provide training for confined space work. A serious violation is one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. Proposed penalties for L&L total $67,800.

Raven Lining Systems, a manufacturer of specialty epoxy coating products, had two employees on site the day before the accident to assure that application of their product was performed correctly, and was cited for seven alleged serious violations for failing to ensure that those workers had proper respiratory protection for entering a confined space. Proposed penalties for Raven total $27,000.

The companies have 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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