The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Energy Transportation LLC and MW Logistics Services LLC for serious safety violations after a fatal fire at a natural gas processing plant in Houston, Pennsylvania.
OSHA inspected Energy Transportation LLC, the company contracted to clean lines and vessels at the plant, after four of the company’s employees suffered burns and needed hospitalization. One of the employees later died. OSHA cited the company for violations of the process safety management (PSM) standard, and exposing employees to flammable vapor and liquid while they off-loaded waste material from a vessel into a mobile tank.
OSHA also inspected MW Logistics Services LLC, the host employer that operates the natural gas processing plant. The Agency cited the company for violations of PSM standards, and for failing to inspect the facility’s energy control procedures at least annually.
Energy Transportation LLC faces penalties totaling $51,148. MW Logistics Services LLC faces $47,360 in penalties.
“Providing workers with a safe and healthful workplace is required of every employer,” said OSHA Area Director Christopher Robinson, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “This tragedy could have been prevented if the employer had followed safety processes to control the release of gases from highly hazardous chemicals.”
OSHA offers employers compliance assistance resources related to process safety management.
Both companies have 15 business days from receipt of the citations (view the citations here, here, and here) and proposed 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 American working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education, and assistance.