Cal/OSHA Cites Sierra Pacific Industries for Fatal Air Compressor Incident

Cal/OSHA Cites Sierra Pacific Industries for Fatal Air Compressor Incident

A California company was cited $108,300 for safety violations.

Cal/OSHA cited Sierra Pacific Industries $108,300 regarding workplace safety and health violations. This comes after an employee was fatally injured when a pipeline on an air compressor exploded in Lincoln, CA.

On September 17, an employee working for the company was setting up a Quincy 300 Compressor when a pipeline on the air compressor exploded. According to a press release, pieces of the pipeline hit two employees nearby, injuring one and killing another.

“Working on equipment attached to pressure vessels such as air compressors requires special precautions,” said Cal/OSHA Deputy Chief Debra Lee. “Employers must identify and evaluate potential hazards before assigning employees to perform work on this hazardous machinery and equipment.”

Sierra Pacific Industries faces nine violations, including “three serious accident-related, three serious and three general in nature.” The serious accident-related violations were cited for the employer’s failure to:

• Test the discharge piping and ensure proper connection

• Ensure a pressure relieving safety device was installed between the compressor and block valve

• Ensure all pressure piping was designed and fit with proper engineering practice

The serious violations cited were from the employer’s failure to ensure the energy within the pipeline was controlled, failure to ensure lockout/tagout procedures were utilized and failure to make sure employees were working under supervision. Another citation was issued for violations for uncertified employees welding, failure to establish hazardous energy control procedure and operating equipment under stress.

Cal/OSHA’s Pressure Vessel Unit is responsible under Labor Code Sections 7620-7771 for permitting and inspecting boilers and tanks, including air compressors.

About the Author

Shereen Hashem is the Associate Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety magazine.

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