OSHA cited Phoenix Industrial Cleaning for 28 serious safety violations following the death of a worker who fell from a ladder inside of a storage tank, apparently after being overcome by methylene chloride vapors at a chemical manufacturing facility in Wheeling, IL on Nov. 29, 2012.  The company performs industrial cleaning of cooking exhaust ventilation, tanks, silos and similar equipment at industrial and commercial work sites. OSHA has conducted four previous inspections, two of which resulted in citations for violating standards on confined spaces. The last OSHA inspection was in 2001.

Eighteen of the serious violations involve confined space entry requirements, such as failing to develop and implement a confined space entry program for workers cleaning chemical storage tanks; train workers on acceptable entry conditions; provide testing and monitoring equipment for atmospheric hazards; provide a means of communication between workers entering a confined space and the attendant; provide rescue emergency equipment and a retrieval system to facilitate a no-entry rescue; have proper entry-control permits; and determine the proficiency of rescue service available to perform emergency rescue for exposure to hazardous chemicals.

Five of the serious violations that involve OSHA's respiratory protection standards include failing to evaluate the respiratory hazards present and select appropriate respiratory protection based on such hazards, provide a written respiratory protection program and train workers on such a program and conduct medical evaluations for workers required to use respiratory protection and proper fit-testing respiratory protection.

Additional serious violations involve OSHA's methylene chloride standard, such as failing to provide workers with information and training on the hazards associated with methylene chloride, assess exposure and provide effective protective garments. A serious violation occurs 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.

A confined space has limited or restricted means for entry or exit, and it is not designed for continuous employee occupancy. Confined space hazards are addressed in specific standards. For more information see, http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/confinedspaces/index.html.

OSHA has proposed fines of $77,200.  CLICK HERE for more from OSHA.

This is an oldie but a goodie, showing us that it is ONLY vapors that burn.


WARNING!  Viewer Discretion is STRONGLY advised, video captures the fatal impact of the personnel basket as it fell 60' from the crane to the rig floor.


One of the top items from our process safety audits, PHAs, assessments, etc. is the lack of vehicle protection around critical equipment/infastructure.  Number one target in process plants is overhead piping!  It seems no matter how high we put it, it will get hit.  Already this year we were told that the pipe bridge over the main raod was "high enough" and that no height signs or protection systems were needed.  Months later the safety manager sent me a picture of a dump truck stuck under that same pipe bridge with its bed fully up.  The accident cost them a reportable release, a visit by EPA (still awaiting the damage assessment from that visit) and around $300K in damages, not counting the lost production!  Case in point... keep in mind this vehicle was traveling at a higher rate of speed than those in our plants, but the force is great even at 10-15 mph.


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