Dallas Utilities Contractor Cited After Worker Suffers Fatal Gas Exposure

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DALLAS, TX — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited RKM Utility Services Inc. for failing to protect workers from hydrogen sulfide after an employee died after exposure to dangerous levels of the gas while working in a trench in Dallas, Texas.

OSHA inspectors determined that the company exposed employees to a hazardous atmosphere, failed to train employees on the health hazards of hydrogen sulfide, and did not drain water from the trench. The company faces penalties of $422,006.

Hydrogen sulfide is flammable and toxic, particularly in confined spaces such as trenches and sewers. Employers are required to test the air to detect the presence of the gas, use exhaust systems to reduce hydrogen sulfide levels, train workers on hazards and control methods, and provide personal protective equipment if control methods used are not sufficient to reduce hydrogen sulfide levels.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the safety and health citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. 

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