After one worker collapsed inside a confined space, a second one rushed in and also lost consciousness. Now the company faces $73,105 in fines.
Cal/OSHA has cited Kittyhawk Inc., based in Garden Grove, CA, with nine violations (6 serious, 3 general).
On March 13, 2016, a supervisor sent an untrained production assistant into a pressure vessel furnace to perform maintenance. The assistant didn’t have an oxygen sensor. The space was only four-feet wide and eight-feet tall and was filled with argon gas.
When the worker was overcome by the argon gas and collapsed, a second worker went in after him and also lost consciousness.
A third employee took a nearby fan and blew fresh air into the confined space.
The first worker spent four days in a hospital. The second worker was taken to a hospital, treated and released.
Cal/OSHA cited Kittyhawk for failure to:
- identify permit-required confined spaces
- train employees to safely perform their work in confined spaces
- monitor atmospheric conditions in a confined space during maintenance, and
- develop effective rescue and emergency procedures when employees are endangered in confined spaces.
Kittyhawk is a metal processing company.
Cal/OSHA defines a permit-required confined space as one that has limited entry and exit openings, isn’t designed for continuous worker occupancy, and has one or more of the following characteristics:
- a hazardous or potentially hazardous atmosphere including too little or too much oxygen, and/or presence of toxic gases
- a material that can engulf an employee, such as grain, sand or sugar
- an internal layout (such as floors that slope downwards) that can trap or asphyxiate a worker, or
- any other serious safety or health hazard, such as machinery with moving parts, sources of electrical shocks, burning or drowning hazards.