Permit required confined space hazards were recently uncovered by OSHA at Bosserman Aviation Equipment Inc. As a result, the company was cited 16 safety and health violations, including allowing workers to clean fuel tanks without implementing permit-required confined-space precautions, such as the use of life lines and two-person teams. Proposed fines total $53,900. OSHA standards for permit required confined spaces are found in 29 CFR 1910.146.
Out of 12 serious safety violations, seven were cited for permit-required confined-space hazards. These involve failing to provide an attendant outside of fuel tanks to monitor workers performing cleaning and maintenance inside the tanks; exposing workers to conditions that could cause oxygen deprivation; and failing to provide life lines, train workers in confined space hazards and evaluate procedures annually. The remaining serious safety violations involve failing to provide fall protection for workers on top of fuel tanks, provide machine guarding on the mechanical press brake, provide ventilation for workers conducting welding inside fuel tanks, and protect workers from electrical-shock hazards by properly installing electrical boxes and using electrical boxes that are not damaged. 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.
The company also was cited for one serious and three other-than-serious health violations for failing to provide adequate respiratory protection for workers. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
“Employers have a responsibility to ensure workers are trained in the necessary precautions to protect their health and safety while performing assigned tasks,” said Kim Nelson, OSHA’s area director in Toledo. “OSHA is committed to protecting workers, especially when employers fail to do so.”
Bosserman Aviation Equipment manufactures, assembles and repairs airport jet-fuel tanker trucks and pumpers. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its 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.