Some employees may not understand at first why you’d tell them not to rescue a co-worker who has collapsed. But this case provides a good reminder of the potential consequences.
An unidentified employee of Precision Industrial Maintenance in Schenectady, NY, was overcome by toxic fumes in a tank truck at the company’s headquarters. A second employee tried to help the first man but was also overcome, according to the Daily Gazette.
Firefighters pulled the two unconscious men from the tank. The first man died. The second survived, but spent time in a hospital intensive care unit.
So the message has to be sent to workers: If you don’t have the proper protective equipment to enter a confined space that may contain toxic fumes, don’t go in, even if you find a co-worker collapsed inside. You may become a victim yourself in the process of trying to save someone else.
In this case, OSHA has now fined Precision $56,000 for various violations, including one willful citation, with a $35,000 proposed fine, for not providing employees with confined space rescue training at least once every 12 months.
Five serious citations were issued for Precision’s failure to:
- test conditions in confined spaces before entry
- complete required entry permits
- provide confined space training to employees
- evaluate rescue services for employees entering confined spaces, and
- provide confined space warnings signs.
OSHA’s statement about its fines against Precision is available here.