OSHA Enforcement
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Worker Severely Burned When Trapped in a Fiery Underground Duct

OSHA has cited two contractors after an employee was severely burned in a confined space incident.

OSHA has cited a Billings, Mont., general contractor and a Rock Springs, Wyo., subcontractor for exposing workers to numerous safety hazards, which led to an incident that caused an employee to suffer severe burns. The companies face a total of $249,516 in proposed penalties.

On May 5, a Coleman Construction Inc. employee suffered third-degree burns when compressed oxygen inside an underground duct caused a fire. The subcontractor was cited for failing to provide mechanical ventilation or an underground air monitoring system, and failing to report the hospitalization of the burned employee in a timely manner. The company, headquartered in Billings, faces $189,762 in proposed penalties.

OSHA also cited the general contractor, JTL Group, doing business as Knife River, for not ensuring that safety precautions were taken at the work site. Proposed penalties total $59,754.

“Confined workspaces pose an immediate and substantial danger to workers,” said OSHA Area Director Arthur Hazen, in Billings. “It is vitally important that employers properly identify, test, control, and ventilate the atmosphere to ensure the safety of workers in confined spaces.”

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.

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