Confined-Space Death Leads to $64,400 in Proposed Penalties

OSHA has cited International Diving Services of Arlington for safety violations following its investigation of an accident in Paris, Texas, in which a diver was killed. OSHA's Dallas Area Office began its investigation following the May 13 incident that took place at a water treatment facility in Paris, where a diver's lifeline became entangled in the water pump of a 500,000-gallon in-ground water tank.

"The employer failed to ensure appropriate safety procedures were followed for entry into a permit-required confined space and failed to control the hazardous energy that ultimately took this employee's life," said Stephen Boyd, OSHA's area director in Dallas.

OSHA cited the company with two alleged willful violations and three alleged serious violations. The willful violations involve failure to conduct a safety and health assessment for surface and underwater conditions when planning diving operations and to brief dive team members of any hazards or environmental conditions that may affect the safety of the diving operation. The serious violations involve entry into a confined space without verification it was safe for entry; the employer's failure to ensure that the supervisor verified all tests were conducted, and all equipment and procedures were in place in accordance with confined space requirements; and failure to develop and document procedures for the control of potential hazardous energy.

The citations carry $64,400 in proposed penalties. The employer can contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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