Dixie Tank Fined for Chemical Exposure

Monday, April 28, 2014 @ 04:04 PM gHale

Dixie Tank Co. in Jacksonville, FL, is facing $106,100 in fines for 23 safety and health violations, including exposing full-time and temporary workers to health hazards from exposure to the toxic chemical hexavalent chromium in excess of federal standards, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Dixie Tank manufactures carbon and stainless steel tanks, pressure vessels, water heaters, filters and custom fabrications for the water, water treatment, hot water and industrial markets. Its facility covers more than six acres, with 78,000 square feet of manufacturing area.

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OSHA initiated an October 2013 inspection as part of the agency’s national emphasis program on amputations. Hexavalent chromium can cause cancer. In addition, it targets the respiratory system, kidneys, liver, skin and eyes. Chromium metal adds into alloy steel to increase hardenability and corrosion resistance. A major source of worker exposure to hexavalent chromium occurs during “hot work,” such as welding on stainless steel and other alloy steels containing chromium metal.

“Employers must ensure that workers are protected from serious hazards to their health,” said Brian Sturtecky, OSHA’s area director in Jacksonville. “It is critically important that employers, such as Dixie Tank, take effective steps to monitor, identify and reduce exposure levels to safeguard their employees’ health.”

Nineteen serious violations involve the employer: Exposing workers to hexavalent chromium above eight hour exposure limit set by OSHA; failing to conduct initial monitoring of hexavalent chromium to determine the eight hour exposure average; failing to provide medical surveillance for employees exposed to hexavalent chromium for more than 30 days and failing to provide appropriate respirators for workers. Additionally, the employer failed to ensure all hoist load hooks had a safety latch to avoid struck-by hazards, and to protect employees working adjacent to the welding area from ultraviolet welding arcs.

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.

OSHA has conducted six previous inspections at the Dixie Tank facility. Most recently, in February 2009, the company received citations for noise, respirators and confined space violations.

Aerotek Inc., a multinational staffing agency, provides Dixie Tank with temporary workers. Dixie Tank was providing the daily supervision, training and direction for the three temporary workers employed at the facility at the time of the inspection.

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