The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued citations and proposed penalties of $127,750 against Mo-Vac Service Co., Edinburg, Texas, for allegedly failing to test confine spaces for hazardous conditions and other workplace hazards.
“Strong enforcement is a key part of our strategy to reduce worker fatalities, injuries and illnesses,” said John Giefer, OSHA’s area director in Corpus Christi. “The employer permitted workers to enter confined spaces without following the program requirements, risking death or injury.”
Mo-Vac Service, which transports waste water and cleans and repairs transfer tanks and trucks, was issued citations for one alleged willful and 23 alleged serious violations following an OSHA inspection that began Oct. 26 at the company’s worksite in Edinburg. Employees were cleaning and repairing the inside of transportation trucks and trailers containing hydrocarbons and sanitary waste water. The company allowed employees to enter without following the confined space provisions of established safety and health standards.
The alleged willful violation resulted from the employer’s failure to test the confined space for hazardous atmospheric conditions before permitting employees to enter. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with intentional disregard of or plain indifference to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
Alleged serious violations included failure to: train employees on the proper use of respirators, ensure the use of emergency escape respirators in confined spaces, perform medical evaluations on employees using respirators and provide training for employees entering confined spaces. A serious violation is one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Employers or workers who have questions concerning safety and health may call OSHA’s Corpus Christi area office at (361) 888-3420 or OSHA’s toll free hotline number at 1-800-321-6742 to report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers.
Mo-Vac Service Co. has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s Corpus Christi office, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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