OSHA Initiates Protection Over Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana from Confined Space Dangers

OSHA Initiates Protection Over Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana from Confined Space Dangers

After lives were taken in Texas and Oklahoma less than one year apart, OSHA decided it was time to intervene.

Four lives were lost for those working in the tank cleaning industry in less than one year in Pasadena, Texas and Hugo, Oklahoma as a part of a trend in preventable workplace deaths in the region. A worker was cleaning out the inside of a tank trailer in Pasadena in December 2018 when he/she was exposed to hazards, as well as a co-worker who attempted to rescue the worker. Months after that, in August of 2020, two cleaning workers entered a natural gas tanker on a railcar in Hugo and fell victim to its vapors.

Since 2016, Dallas region’s OSHA investigated 36 workers’ deaths in the transportation and tank cleaning industry. As was the case in the two towns, failing to follow confined space entry permit requirements and take required steps to prevent workers from inhaling harmful substances can lead to fatality. These OSHA offices conducted 136 inspections in the industry since 2016 and established the Regional Emphasis Program. The program will raise awareness among employers in Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana, in industries that typically engage in “tank cleaning activities, including trucking, rail and road transportation, remediation services, material recovery and waste management services.”

According to a press release, transportation tanks on trucks, trailers or railcars require cleaning and inspection before they are refilled for transport. Workers who clean these tanks between uses have a high risk to toxic exposure to vapors from chemicals, decaying crops, waste and other substances that could lead to fire and explosions.

“Too often, employers allow workers to enter tanks without testing atmospheric conditions, completing confined space entry permits or providing adequate respiratory protection,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Eric S. Harbin in Dallas. “Companies with active safety and health programs that train workers to identify hazardous conditions and use required protective measures can prevent serious and fatal injuries.”

Following the three-month outreach, the program encourages OSHA to schedule and inspect targeted industries in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.

About the Author

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

Download Center

  • Industrial Premium Library

    Empower your workforce with the manufacturing, industrial maintenance, operations, HSE, compliance, and professional development skills they need to complete their tasks efficiently and safely. Not only will you boost productivity, reliability, skills, and morale but you’ll also onboard faster, and retain your best employees while meeting regulatory standards. Vector Solutions offers over 1,800 award-winning eLearning courses designed to keep your employees safe, transfer knowledge of fundamentals, and develop industry and job-specific skills that reduce downtime, maintenance costs and more.

  • Safety Metrics & Insights Webinar

    EHS professionals have been tackling the subject of how to best measure performance for many years. Lagging indicators like the Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR) and Days Away Restricted Transfer Rate (DART) are a good place to start, but you shouldn’t forget about the leading indicators that your workforce does every day to prevent incidents from occurring. Learn about some of the most common KPIs of safety programs and how Vector EHS Management software can be used to track these metrics in this webinar.

  • Risk Matrix Guide

    Understanding the components of a risk matrix will allow you and your organization to manage risk effectively. Download this guide for details on risk matrix calculations including severity, probability, and risk assessment.

  • OSHA Recordkeeping Guide

    In case you missed it, OSHA recently initiated an enforcement program to identify employers who fail to electronically submit Form 300A recordkeeping data to the agency. When it comes to OSHA recordkeeping, there are always questions regarding the requirements and ins and outs. This guide is here to help! We’ll explain reporting, recording, and online reporting requirements in detail.

  • Safety Metrics Guide

    Is your company leveraging its safety data and analytics to maintain a safe workplace? With so much data available, where do you start? This downloadable guide will give you insight on helpful key performance indicators (KPIs) you should track for your safety program

  • Vector Solutions

Featured Whitepaper

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - September 2022

    September 2022

    Featuring:

    • ESG
      EHS Will Guide Future ESG Success for Many Organizations
    • MACHINE GUARDING
      Handling Material Handlers: Training Beyond PIT Requirements
    • EHS SOFTWARE
      The Missing Link with EHS Software
    • HEARING PROTECTION
      Noise Surveys from the Trenches
    View This Issue