Safety Hazards Net Fine for Okla. Worksite

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued citations against Cunningham Sandblasting and Painting Co. Inc. with proposed penalties totaling $62,550. The fines were assessed for alleged safety violations following an investigation at a company worksite on Highway 60, Road 409 in Nowata, Okla.

Cunningham Sandblasting and Painting, headquartered in Joplin, Mo., employs about 25 workers, two of whom were at the worksite. The company was issued citations for two alleged willful and 17 alleged serious safety violations following an OSHA inspection that began Dec. 20, 2004. Employees were painting the inside of a water tower without the use of respiratory equipment, exposing workers to a hazardous condition.

“Health and safety standards must be followed to protect employees from injuries and fatalities,” said James Brown, OSHA’s area director in Oklahoma City. “Fortunately, in this case no one was seriously injured.”

The two willful citations were issued for failing to complete an entry permit prior to entering a confined space, which includes information such as air monitoring and instructions to follow in case of emergency, and failing to use retrieval systems when entering confined spaces. 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.

The alleged serious violations include failure to: provide cages on ladders, repair damaged scaffolding, require the use of personal protective equipment such as fall protection harnesses, and train employees on the use of respirators.

OSHA issues a serious citation when death or serious injury could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.