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Railcar Service Company Cited After Employee Fatality in a Confined Space

December 7, 2019

Source: soleg/Adobe Stock

PITTSTON, PA ‒ The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Dana Railcare – based in Wilmington, Delaware – for confined space hazards after an employee fatality in Pittston, Pennsylvania.

According to OSHA, in May 2019,  an employee asphyxiated while servicing a rail car containing crude oil sludge. OSHA has placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program. The railcar service company has been cited 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. The railcar service provider is facing $551,226 in proposed penalties.

According to Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, Loren Sweatt, “This tragedy could have been prevented if the employer had followed proper safety procedures for entering and cleaning railcars. Employers that fail to comply with the law will continue to see full and fair enforcement.”

Legally companies are bound by OSHA regulations to test and monitor confined spaces for oxygen content before and during entry to confined spaces. To this end, OSHA offers several resources on Confined Spaces, including an Atmospheric Testing in Confined Spaces fact sheet, and a Permit-Required Confined Spaces booklet.

Dana Railcare has 15 days to appeal against these citations and penalties.

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