Tank Maker Safety Fines

Monday, July 30, 2012 @ 03:07 PM gHale


Bushnell Illinois Tank Co., which operates as Schuld/Bushnell in Valley, is facing a fine of $116,270 for eight safety and health violations based on a follow-up inspection for hazards associated with workers who enter and work in permit-required confined spaces, said Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials.

Bushnell, IL-based Bushnell Illinois Tank Co. makes tanks for agriculture and commercial applications such as grain and feed storage.

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OSHA initiated the follow-up inspection at Schuld/Bushnell in January 2012 to determine if hazardous conditions continued to exist after a January 2011 inspection resulted in citations of OSHA’s permit-required confined space standard.

That standard establishes procedures to protect workers who must enter, work in or exit spaces with configurations that hinder their activities. In addition, the configurations of such spaces may increase workers’ exposure to hazards such as entrapment, engulfment and/or hazardous atmospheric conditions, which can lead to serious physical injury, illness or death.

A willful violation occurred because of the presence of these hazards without an employer permit-required confined space program. Workers entered tanks to weld the bottom to the cylinder, attach ladders and aeration fans, and apply sealant in the finishing area. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowledge or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

Four repeat violations involve failing to provide a permit-required confined space hazard evaluation prior to employee entry, provide appropriate equipment for making permit-required confined space entries, test and monitor permit-required confined space conditions prior to entry and train workers on entering permit-required confined spaces. The company faced violations previously during the 2011 inspection. A repeat violation exists when an employer faced the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.

Two serious violations relate to a lack of worker training to establish proficiency in permit-required confined space procedures and a lack of determination regarding exposure of employees to the chemical hexavalent chromium. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

One other-than-serious violation addresses hazards associated with failing to implement a respirator program relative to proper storage of respirators. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

“Employers have a responsibility to protect the safety of their workers on the job and to know the unique hazards that exist in their work environments,” said Charles E. Adkins, OSHA’s regional administrator in Kansas City, Mo. “Employers who are cited for repeat violations or in follow-up inspections have failed to demonstrate a commitment to workers’ safety and health.”



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