Cal/OSHA Cites Two Employers for Serious Accident-Related Health and Safety Violations

Gladiator Rooter & Plumbing and Gate Gourmet, Inc. were cited for serious accident-related health and safety violations last week after two employees were poisoned by carbon monoxide while working in a confined space.

Cal/OSHA cited two employers for serious accident-related health and safety violations last week after two employees were poisoned by carbon monoxide.

Two plumbers from Gladiator Rooter & Plumbing were working in a crawl space replacing underground sewer pipes for airline caterer Gate Gourmet, Inc. at San Francisco International Airport when they were poisoned by carbon monoxide. The plumbers were using a gasoline-powered saw to cut through concrete when they were overcome by the carbon monoxide gas emitted from the equipment. One of the workers lost consciousness. Emergency crews assisted the employees, but one was hospitalized for two days.

“These workers were fortunate because performing work in confined spaces can be deadly, especially when oxygen levels are reduced or when deadly gases are present,” said Cal/OSHA Deputy Chief of Enforcement Debra Lee. “Employers must identify and evaluate potential hazards before workers enter confined spaces so they can ensure workers are trained and a rescue plan is in place in case of emergency.”

Both Gate Gourmet, Inc. and Gladiator Rooter & Plumbing were cited for violations.

Cal/OSHA cited Gladiator Rooter & Plumbing $50,850 for eight violations, including two serious accident-related, two serious, and four general in nature. The serious accident-related violations were cited for the company’s failure to implement a permit-required confined space program and its failure to train its employees on working safely in confined space. The serious violations were cited for the company’s failure to develop and implement a written permit space program and failure to obtain information about permit space hazard and provide that information to the workers entering the space.

Cal/OSHA cited Gate Gourmet $18,000 in proposed penalties for one serious accident-related violation for failing to communicate with Gladiator Rooter & Plumbing about confined space hazards and precautions.

Cal/OSHA has multiple resources for construction industry employers looking to keep employees safe in confined spaces, including:

In addition, Cal/OSHA provides employers with online tools and publications on how to establish an effective safety program, including:

Cal/OSHA’s Consultation Services Branch provides free and voluntary assistance to employers to improve their health and safety programs.

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