OSHA cited Apple Fabrication Inc., in Duncanville, Texas, with four alleged violations and a penalty totaling $63,000 for exposing employees to atmospheric hazards.
The alleged violations were discovered during an OSHA investigation that began on Jan. 9, 2001, in response to a fatality. The employee was killed after being overcome by trichloroethylene vapors while working inside a steel rinse tank. The employer was cited with two willful and two serious violations.
The alleged willful violations included failure to implement the confined space entry procedures.
Employees who enter and work inside rinse tanks must follow a precise series of steps to control hazardous conditions before entry.
The employer also allegedly did not perform air monitoring or require employees to wear respirators.
The two serious violations were for not having an attendant present when employees entered into the steel rinse tanks and for not implementing procedures for summoning rescue.
"The employer, knowing the hazards associated with the chemicals used during the tank lining operations, repeatedly allowed the employees to work inside these steel rinse tanks without using any safety procedures or equipment," said Kathryn Delaney, Dallas OSHA area director.
by Virginia Sutcliffe