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Tank Maker: Strike 2 on Confined Space

Thursday, July 26, 2012

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An Illinois tank maker slapped last year with 23 federal health and safety citations and a six-figure fine is facing more of the same for continuing confined-space and other life-threatening hazards.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued eight new citations against Bushnell Illinois Tank Co. after a follow-up inspection revealed many of the same hazards for which the company was cited in 2011. The new proposed penalties total $116,270.

 The companyy builds and finishes bins, tanks, silos and conveying systems for commercial and agricultural applications.

 Bushnell Illinois Tank Co.

The company builds and finishes bins, tanks, silos and conveying systems for commercial and agricultural applications.

The company, headquartered in Bushnell, IL, manufactures steel, aluminum, galvanized and “galvanized plus” (galvanized, primed and coated) tanks, bins and conveying systems for a variety of commercial and agricultural end users.

The citations relate to the company’s Schuld/Bushnell facility in Valley, NE.

Bushnell Illinois did not respond Thursday (July 26) to a request for comment.

OSHA History

Bushnell Illinois has amassed numerous citations with OSHA since 2006.

In August 2006, the company was issued 13 serious and two other-than-serious citations and fined $10,250 for a wide variety of violations, including multiple spray finishing hazards. Although the citations were settled as issued, the fine was eventually reduced to $5,736.

In January 2011, OSHA issued one willful, one repeat, one other-than-serious and 20 serious citations for a wide range of hazards--from spray finishing to electrical, mechanical and respiratory protection issues--throughout the Bushnell operation.

Proposed fines totaled $142,400, including $49,000 for the willful citation, which alleged confined-space hazards.

That case remains open, with all of the citations intact but the total fine tentatively reduced to $35,600.

New Violations

The latest case stems from a follow-up inspection to the 2011 case. This time, OSHA focused on whether the employer had addressed the confined-space lapses.

According to OSHA, it hadn’t. The new citations consist of one willful, four repeat, two serious and one other-than-serious violation. All but the least serious involve confined-space hazards and are considered life-threatening conditions.

The willful violation alleges that the company lacks a permit-required confined space program for workers who “entered tanks to weld the bottom to the cylinder, attach ladders and aeration fans, and apply sealant in the finishing area.”

Four repeat violations—all cited in 2011—allege failure to:

• Evaluate confined spaces before allowing employees to enter;

• Provide appropriate equipment for entering those areas;

• Test and monitor confined-space conditions; and

• Train workers on entering permit-required confined spaces.

Two serious violations allege insufficient training in PRCS and failure to evaluate workers in the finishing areas for exposure to hexavalent chromium.

The other citation alleges lack of a respirator storage program.

‘Unique Hazards’

“Employers have a responsibility to protect the safety of their workers on the job and to know the unique hazards that exist in their work environments,” said Charles E. Adkins, OSHA’s regional administrator in Kansas City, MO.

“Employers who are cited for repeat violations or in follow-up inspections have failed to demonstrate a commitment to workers’ safety and health.”

The company has 15 business days to contest the case or comply.


Tagged categories: Confined space; Health and safety; OSHA; Respirators; Sealers; Tanks; Tanks and vessels; Violations

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