NY Facility Fined $56,000 Following Confined Space Fatality

Precision Industrial Maintenance Inc., a Schenectady, N.Y.-based environmental and industrial maintenance company, has been cited by OSHA for alleged willful and serious violations of safety and health standards after an employee was fatally overcome by vapors while inside a tanker truck. The citations are the result of an August 2008 OSHA inspection of its facility.

OSHA has issued the company one willful citation, with a $35,000 proposed fine, for not providing employees with confined space rescue training at least every 12 months. Five serious citations, carrying $21,000 in fines, were issued for the company's failure to test conditions in confined spaces before entry; not completing required entry permits; not providing confined space training to employees; not evaluating rescue services for employees entering confined spaces; and lack of confined space warning signs.

"These citations encompass health and safety hazards associated with work in permit-required confined spaces, such as this one," said Edward Jerome, OSHA's area director in Albany, N.Y. "These conditions must be addressed promptly and effectively. Left uncorrected, they expose employees to the potential hazard of asphyxia, which can be fatal."

OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health. The agency issues serious citations when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known. The company, which faces a total of $56,000 in fines, has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and fines to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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