OSHA began its investigation after a July 2009 explosion at a meter station construction site in Raleigh, Miss., killed one worker. A second Priority Energy Services worker was critically injured, along with two Grand Bluff Construction workers.
“This tragedy could have been avoided if the companies involved had followed government and industry standards when conducting their pressure tests,” said Clyde Payne, director of OSHA’s Jackson Area Office.
OSHA cited Mustang Engineering with two willful violations for exposing workers to struck-by hazards while performing pressure tests. Grand Bluff Construction was cited with one willful and three serious violations related to exposing workers to struck-by hazards and failing to provide adequate training. Priority Energy Services was cited with two serious violations for also exposing workers to struck-by hazards and one serious violation for allowing the use of a stairway without a railing.
OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health. A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Proposed penalties for the three companies total $189,400: $112,500 for Mustang Engineering, $67,900 for Grand Bluff Construction and $9,000 for Priority Energy Services.
The companies have 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.