Rail Car Services LLC has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 11 safety and health violations, including eight repeat, at its Kansas City rail car refurbishing facility. OSHA has proposed penalties of $133,000.
An inspection began following a complaint about previously cited violations that resurfaced and involved fall protection and permit-required confined space hazards.
Rail Car Services refurbishes rail cars including hopper-style cars. The rail cars are entered through top access doors and workers, once inside, perform sandblasting of walls, relining and general maintenance.
During the inspection, OSHA found that hazards cited in 2012 were inadequately addressed, or the company did not completely abate the safety and health issues. As a result, eight repeat violations were cited.
A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.
The repeat violations involve failing to ensure fall protection systems covered areas where rail car work was conducted and workers were vulnerable to fall exposure. OSHA’s investigation found a fall protection system had been installed, but was inadequate to cover the number of workers exposed, and the company did not require usage of the present fall protection system. Rail Car Services also failed to train workers on chemicals used in their work area and did not provide annual respirator training.
Five of the repeat citations involve OSHA’s permit-required confined space program, including failing to evaluate work spaces, such as hopper cars, for confined space requirements and atmospheric conditions; inform exposed workers of the existence and location of confined spaces; use entry permits; and provide training to workers.
Two serious violations involve failing to evaluate workers medically for respirator usage and to prevent the use of compressed breathing air that was not of the proper grade.
An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known existed.
Rail Car Services has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.