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Tank Co. Cited in Worker’s Death

Monday, August 8, 2011

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A Southeast Texas tank trailer company is facing 32 federal citations and $160,000 in fines in the death of a worker at the facility’s tank wash operation.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Freeport-based Enterprise Products Transportation Co. for 29 serious and three other-than-serious violations in the fatal accident Feb. 9.

Enterprise Products Transportation Co.

OSHA’s Houston South Area Office initiated its inspection at the company’s facility on South Gulf Boulevard after receiving a report that a worker had been found, unresponsive, inside a tank trailer that was being prepared to be washed. The employee was removed from the tank trailer by a coworker, but later died. Neither the worker’s name nor cause of death were released, and OSHA would not say which of the violations issued were related to the fatality.

Company Response

“Enterprise is committed to the responsible operation of its facilities and the safety of its employees and contractors,” said company spokesman Rick Rainey.  ”In support of that ongoing mission, the company is cooperating with OSHA and will take the appropriate steps to address the issues.”

Rainey declined to say whether the company would contest the citations.

Violations Detailed

The serious violations allege failure to:

• Install and maintain fall protection equipment;

• Provide safe access to work platforms;

• Develop energy control procedures and use them during maintenance activities;

• Provide required respiratory protection for employees performing tank wash work;

• Provide training on the use of powered industrial trucks; and

• Ensure that chemicals were safely stored.

A serious violation indicates a “substantial probability” of death or serious injury from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Other-than-serious violations allege failure to inspect breathing air cylinders and have them tested, and for failing to determine an appropriate respirator change schedule. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

‘Tragedy Could Have Been Avoided’

“Tank washing operations can involve hazardous procedures,” said Mark Briggs, director of OSHA’s Houston South Area Office. “If OSHA’s safety standards had been followed, it is possible this tragedy could have been avoided.”

Enterprise Transportation operates a fleet of about 800-tractor-trailer tank trucks, which are mainly used to transport NGL, petrochemical and refined products and is supported by 26 terminals owned and operated throughout the United States.

One of the nation’s largest full-service tank truck companies, Enterprise Transportation has been in the tank truck business for more than 40 years.  In September 2010, the company was acquired by Enterprise Products Partners LP

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the citations before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.


Tagged categories: Fatalities; Health and safety; OSHA

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