Back in March of this year a major manufacturer of nitrogen and anhydrous ammonia had its second PRCS fatality in a four (4) month span.  Both of these incidents, as reported in the Incident Alerts, were construction-related permit-required confined space incidents.  NOTE: the first accident happened at their LA facility in December 2015 and resulted in two (2) serious citations for $14,000 and both have been contested.  OSHA just now closed out their investigation/inspection on this second fatality (in IA) and initially cited the contractor $203,000 under the relatively new Confined Spaces for Construction; the contractor had seven (7) citations deleted/vacated at their informal meeting so the case stands at 21 citations and $185,000.  I am not quite sure why this case did not warrant a press release or why this contractor has not been placed in the SVEP, but none the less here are the citations as they stand today...

Cal/OSHA has cited a metal processing company $73,105 for serious safety violations following a March 13, 2016 confined space accident in which a worker was asphyxiated.  Cal/OSHA investigators found the company failed to comply with confined space regulations that resulted in the serious illness. On March 13, a supervisor sent an untrained production assistant into a pressure vessel furnace to perform maintenance on it. The assistant did not have an oxygen sensor with him when he descended into the unit, which is only 49 inches wide and 98 inches tall, and was filled with argon gas. Argon is a noble gas that is chemically inert under most conditions and is colorless, odorless, and much heavier than air. When the worker was overcome by the argon gas and collapsed inside the unit, a second worker went in after him and became dizzy and lost consciousness. A third employee then took a nearby fan and blew fresh air into the confined space, which provided air to breathe. The first worker spent four days in a hospital receiving treatment for his illness, and the second employee was transported to the hospital and was treated and released.

OSHA has issued two (2) citations to a construction contractor for $14,000 after an employee died within a permit-required confined space on 12/7/2015.  The company is contesting the citations.  The citations involved:

Safety Order 01 Item 001

Type of Violation: Serious; $5,000

29 CFR 1910.146(c)(7)(i): A space classified by the employer as a permit-required coufined space may be reclassified as a non-permit coufined space under the following procedures: If the permit space poses no actual or potential atmospheric hazards and if all hazards within the space are eliminated without entry into the space, the permit space may be reclassified as a non-permit confined space for as long as the non-atmospheric hazards remain eliminated:

IN THE ALTERNATIVE

29 CFR 191O.146(c)(7)(ii): A space classified by the employer as a permit-required confined space may be reclassified as a non-permit confined space under the following procedures: If it is necessary to enter the permit space to eliminate hazards, snch entry shall be performed nnder paragraphs (d) through (k) of this section. If testing and inspection during that entry demonstrate that the hazards within the permit space have been eliminated, the permit space may be reclassified as a non-permit coufined space for as long as the hazards remain eliminated

Note: Control of atmospheric hazards through forced air ventilation does not constitute elimination of the hazards. Paragraph (c)(5) covers permit space entry where the employer can demonstrate that forced air ventilation alone will control all hazards in the space.

Generating Station, Level 1 Pulverizer Mill 2A - On 3/9/15 and time prior, the pulverizer, a permit required confined space, was reclassified as a non-permit coufined space while still containing coal dnst in sufficient quantities to potentially create a hazardous atmosphere once disturbed by contractors performing maintenance operations.

IN THE ALTERNATIVE
Generating Station, Level 1 Pulverizer Mill 2A - On 3/9/15 and time prior, combustible coal dust was present in quantities that potentially created a hazardous atmosphere to contractors who entered a reclassified permit required confined space to perform maintenance operations.


Safety Order 01 Item 002

Type of Violation: Serious; $5,000

29 CFR 1910.146(g)(3): The employer did not provide training that established employee proficiency in the duties required by 29 CFR 1910.146, Permit-required confined spaces, and did not introduce new or revised procedures, as necessary, for compliance:

Generating Station, Level 1 Pulverizer Mill 2A - On 3/9/15 and time prior to, the training to reclassify a permit required confined space (pulverizer) to a non-permit confined space was inadequate in that quantities of coal dust that could potentially create a hazardous atmosphere were not identified after cleaning procedures.


Safety Order 01 Item 003

Type ofViolation: Serious; $5,000

29 CFR 1910.252(a)(2)(vi)(C): Cutting or welding was permitted in the presence of explosive atmospheres (mixture of flammable gases, vapors, liquids, or dusts with air), or explosive atmospheres that could develop inside uncleaned or improperly prepared tanks or equipment which had previously contained such materials, or that could develop in areas with an accumulation of combustible dusts:

Generating Station, Level 1 Pulverizer Mill 2A - On 319115 and time prior to,
contract maintenance employees nsed a cutting torch on the tensioner cables while inside the pnlverizer which had been inadequately cleaned of coal dust creating the potential for a hazardous atmosphere within.

 

Safety Order 01 Item 004

Type of Violation: Serious; $5,000

29 CFR 1910.252(a)(2)(xiii)(C): The employer did not recognize its responsibility for the safe usage of cutting or welding equipment and did not insist that cutters or welders and their supervisors were suitably trained in the safe operation of their equipment and the safe use of the process.

Generating Station, Level 1 Pulverizer Mill 2A - On 3/9115 and time prior to, contract maintenance employees who used a cutting torch on the tensioner cables while inside the pulverizer were unable to recognize accumulations of coal dust which created the potential for a hazardous atmosphere within.

 

CLICK HERE for the citations AND the settlement in which all citations were deleted with the understanding that the company would "collaberate with contract employers to improve contractor training regarding the process of obtaining confined space permits and hot work permits".

Screen Shot 2016 06 01 at 7.15.45 PM

The U.S. Coast Guard gets on board (all pun intended) with ANNUAL MOCK RESCUES for enclosed spaces aboard vessels.  The Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) at its ninety-second session adopted amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), 1974, as amended, to include a requirement that “crew members with enclosed space entry or rescue responsibilities shall participate in an enclosed space entry and rescue drill to be held on board the ship at least once every two months.” The amendment was to SOLAS Chapter III, Regulation 19 (Emergency training and drills) and came into force on January 1, 2015. IMO Resolution A.1050(27) supports the new regulations and provides the “Revised Recommendations for Entering Enclosed Spaces Aboard Ships.”

For those who have been adamant and faithful followers of 1910.146, know that the standard requires the Entry Supervisor to verify rescue services are available and that the means for summoning them are operable BEFORE he/she signs the entry permit and allows entry to begin.  Although we get a lot of pushback on this, as many people do not believe this is actually required for EACH ENTRY, here is the actual wording...

 
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