OSHA Finishes Fatality Investigation; Cites Ga. Company for Hazards

December 19, 2005

The U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Joe Sikes Oil Service for reportedly exposing workers to safety and health hazards that contributed to a fatal accident June 19 at the company’s Jefferson, Ga., facility. Proposed penalties total $30,400.

OSHA’s investigation revealed that the company failed to check the flammability of incoming waste oil products and to properly recycle the material. Reportedly, equipment used for these operations had been inoperable for at least two years. An explosion, which occurred while waste oil was being transferred from a storage tank to a tanker truck, killed one employee.

“This needless tragedy points to the dangers of employers becoming complacent when handling hazardous waste materials,” said Gei-Thae Breezley, OSHA’s Atlanta-East area director. “The accident could have been prevented if the company had complied with OSHA and state regulations,”

OSHA issued 22 serious citations against the company, including failing to periodically inspect storage vessels; defective or inadequate storage tank equipment; lack of emergency training and equipment; several electrical violations and improperly stored hazardous chemicals.

The company has 15 working days from receipt to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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