OSHA Cites Contractors After Towboat Explosion

Three employees were killed and two others critically injured following an explosion aboard a towboat in Calvert City, Ky., on Jan. 19, 2018. The five contractors collectively received 55 violations with proposed penalties totaling $795,254.

OSHA has cited five contractors for safety and health violations after three employees were killed and two others critically injured following an explosion aboard a towboat in Calvert City, Ky., on Jan. 19, 2018. The five companies collectively received 55 violations with proposed penalties totaling $795,254.

OSHA cited ship repair contractor First Marine LLC; insulation contractor Thermal Control and Fabrication Inc.; temporary staffing companies Hutco Inc. and Day Help LLC (doing business as Wise Staffing Group); and blasting and painting contractor Joe Rupcke. First Marine LLC also has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

OSHA's news release said its investigation determined the explosion occurred when employees were cutting and welding in an atmosphere containing flammable gases. OSHA issued citations for failing to test confined spaces before entry, train workers on confined space entry operations, and label chemical containers; for exposing employees to asphyxiation, fire, explosion, chemical, trip, and drowning hazards; and for allowing hot work/welding to be performed without testing for an explosive atmosphere.

"This tragedy could have been prevented if the employers had followed proper confined space procedures and implemented appropriate safety measures," said OSHA Regional Administrator Kurt A. Petermeyer.

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