This story illustrates that not only do workers need to use their PPE — they need to use it properly. The consequences of not doing so can be fatal.
OSHA has fined an industrial cleaning company in Commerce City, CO, in connection with the death of one of its workers on April 22, 2010.
The employee of Tactical Cleaning Co. was cleaning the inside of a train tanker car that had been used to transport gasoline. A portable halogen lamp ignited vapors in the car. The man suffered second- and third-degree burns to 85% of his body and later died.
OSHA says the man was wearing ordinary clothing over his flame-resistant work clothing, which kept the protective gear from working properly.
OSHA fined the company $39,000 for 12 serious violations, including failure to:
- follow permit-required confined space procedures
- test conditions in a confined space before entry
- complete entry permits properly
- evaluate the confined space
- provide employees with adequate training
- evaluate rescue services for employees entering confined spaces, and
- provide adequate PPE.
The company was also fined for using improper electrical equipment in flammable atmospheres.
The company has 15 days to decide whether to contest the fines.