Chemical Cleanup Workers Exposed to Hazards

Thursday, January 8, 2015 @ 04:01 PM gHale

For the third time in two years, Dedicated TCS LLC, a chemical tank cleaning service, exposed workers cleaning portable tank wagons to dangerous confined space hazards, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Responding to a complaint, OSHA found seven repeated and two serious violations at Dedicated TCS LLC’s Channahon, IL, site and the company is facing $79,464 in fines.

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“Once again, Dedicated TCS has failed to protect its workers and expects them to work with hazardous materials such as hydroxide and nitrogen chemical residue in dangerous spaces without safety equipment,” said Kathy Webb, OSHA’s area director in Calumet City. “The company’s failure to safeguard its employees is a consistent and unacceptable habit. It must stop now.”

During a July 28 inspection, OSHA found Dedicated TCS gas meters were not in working condition, and neither rescue and retrieval devices nor appropriate lighting for use in permit-required confined spaces were available. A confined space is one large enough for workers to enter and perform certain jobs, such as a tank wagon, but it has limited or restricted means for entry or exit and not designed for continuous occupancy.

The company also failed to train workers about the hazards they faced and how to use personal protective equipment when working with chemical residue. Inspectors also found the entry supervisor did not verify all safety requirements ended up met before allowing workers to enter the tank wagons.

Dedicated TCS faced the same violations at the Channahon facility in September 2012 and the company’s Lansing facility in November 2012. OSHA issues repeated violations if an employer previously faced the same or a similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.

The July 2014 inspection also found slip, trip and fall hazards on floors and stairs and used, damaged extension cords, resulting in two serious violations. An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.

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