Railcar Service Company Faces $551K in Penalties After Worker Death in Pennsylvania

December 5, 2019

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Dana Railcare, based in Wilmington, Del., for confined space hazards after an employee fatality in Pittston, Penn. The railcar service provider faces $551,226 in proposed penalties.

An employee asphyxiated in May 2019 while servicing a rail car containing crude oil sludge. OSHA cited the company for four willful and three serious violations for failing to protect employees from the hazards of entering permit-required confined spaces and inadequate respiratory protection procedures. OSHA has placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

“This tragedy could have been prevented if the employer had followed proper safety procedures for entering and cleaning railcars,” said Loren Sweatt, principal deputy assistant secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, in a U.S. Department of Labor press release. “Employers that fail to comply with the law will continue to see full and fair enforcement.”

Companies are legally required to test and monitor confined spaces for oxygen content before and during entry to confined spaces, added OSHA Wilkes-Barre Area Director Mark Stelmack in the release.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor

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