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Tank Worker Hazards Draw $54K Fine

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

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Allowing workers to clean tanks without precautions for confined-space work and other hazards has drawn an Ohio company 16 federal health and safety violations and fines totaling $53,900.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Bosserman Aviation Equipment Inc. (BAE Inc.) in Carey, OH, for 13 serious violations involving confined-space, respirator and fall protection hazards and three lesser violations also related to respiratory protection.

 BAE Inc.

 BAE Inc.

OSHA issued multiple citations related to confined-space hazards and respiratory protection violations.

BAE designs, manufactures and rebuilds aircraft refueling equipment, including refuelers up to 15,000 gallons. The company also provides tank painting and repairs.

BAE president Terry L. Bosserman declined Tuesday (Nov. 8) to comment on the case.

Serious Violations

Seven of the 12 serious safety violations allege permit-required confined-space hazards, including:

• Failure to provide an attendant outside of fuel tanks to monitor workers performing cleaning and maintenance inside;

• Exposing workers to conditions that could cause oxygen deprivation; and

• Failure to provide life lines, train workers in confined space hazards, and evaluate procedures annually.

The other serious safety violations allege failure to:

• Provide fall protection for workers on top of fuel tanks;

• Provide machine guarding on the mechanical press brake;

• Provide ventilation for workers conducting welding inside fuel tanks; and

• Properly install electrical boxes and use electrical boxes that are not damaged.

Serious violations reflect life-threatening hazards that the employer knew or should have known about.

Other Violations

The company also was cited for one serious and three other-than-serious health violations related to inadequate respiratory protection for workers. 

“Employers have a responsibility to ensure workers are trained in the necessary precautions to protect their health and safety while performing assigned tasks,” said Kim Nelson, OSHA’s area director in Toledo. “OSHA is committed to protecting workers, especially when employers fail to do so.”

BAE has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to contest them or comply.


Tagged categories: Confined space; Fall protection; Health and safety; OSHA; Respirators; Tank interiors; Tanks and vessels; Violations

Comment from Ron Howard, (11/9/2011, 9:19 AM)

Another example that certified Tank Entry Supervisors should be a REQUIREMENT.

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