OSHA Finds Cleaning Contractor Exposed Workers to Safety Hazards Following Worker Death

OSHA Finds Cleaning Contractor Exposed Workers to Safety Hazards Following Worker Death

Qualawash Holdings LLC faced similar violations during an OSHA investigation in 2020.

OSHA has determined that the La Porte, Texas-based Qualawash Holdings LLC—operating as Quala Services LLC—failed to conduct necessary atmospheric testing inside a tank before allowing a 53-year-old worker to enter, leading to his unresponsiveness and subsequent death.

According to a recent release, the company faces $810,703 in proposed penalties after a fatal workplace incident in December 2023 revealed repeated safety violations. The recent citations include eight repeat violations, echoing similar issues from a June 2020 OSHA investigation. In November 2019, two workers died while cleaning a tanker truck at the same company.

“Had Quala Services acted responsibly and made the safety reforms as required in 2020, another employee would not have lost their life,” OSHA Area Director Larissa Ipsen in Houston said in a statement. “This employer’s complete disregard for its employees’ safety is unacceptable. Complying with safety and health standards is not optional. OSHA will use all of its tools to ensure employers follow the law.”

OSHA also cited the company for seven serious violations, such as failing to prevent unauthorized entry into permit-required confined spaces and not providing an attendant while employees were inside these spaces. Other violations included inadequacies in the confined space entry permit process, overexposure to carbon monoxide and electrical safety issues.

The agency highlighted several specific failures related to the confined space entry permits, including not identifying the authorized duration of entry, failing to specify rescue and emergency services, and lacking necessary PPE and communication equipment. Moreover, Quala Services exposed employees to carbon monoxide and left an electrical outlet without a cover plate.

Qualawash Holdings LLC—which specializes in cleaning tanker trailers used for hazardous waste transport—now has 15 business days to to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the agency’s findings before an independent commission.

About the Author

Robert Yaniz Jr. is the Content Editor of Occupational Health & Safety.

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