An employee died of asphyxiation as a result of the displacement of oxygen inside a tank the worker was cleaning.
Oregon OSHA says on Feb. 1, 2021, a worker was discovered unresponsive in an empty 30,000-gallon wine tank at Corus Estates & Vineyards LLC in Dundee, OR.
The employee was assigned to pump out about 500 gallons of wine remnants from the tank into a secondary tank.
Low-pressure nitrogen gas was being pumped in from the top of the tank to prevent oxidation of the remnants.
Company: Corus Estates & Vineyards LLC, Dundee, OR
Reasons for fine: 9 serious violations for failing to:
- perform initial testing for atmospheric hazards before entry
- ensure that a required attendant and entry supervisor was designated for the permit confined space entry
- develop procedures to ensure employees who are entering permit confined spaces with alternate entry procedures are following those procedures
- ensure that all confined space permits were reviewed after they were canceled. Several of the permits were not filled out and were missing required information
- make sure all confined space entry permits included information about rescue services and how to contact them
- have permit entry rescue procedures, including the process for contacting rescue services
- conduct practice entry rescues for presses, tanks, and below-ground permit-required confined spaces
- train employees on recognizing confined spaces or procedures necessary to safely enter a confined space before an employee’s assigned duties changed
- ensure that all employees, whose primary language was Spanish, were proficient in their assigned confined space duties
Note: Corus says it will appeal the fines.