Two workers went into a tank, one came out

by on April 29, 2014 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: Workplace Safety Network

Good safety professionals insist on lockout/tagout procedures because communication problems among people are inevitable. An Oct. 22 tragedy provides a case in point: A laborer and a foreman of K. Dolan Corp., Blairsville, PA, went into the tank of an industrial vacuum truck.

The rear doors of the tank were operated by hydraulic controls. The foreman began to move the controls, and this shut the tank door. The laborer, Edward Ulicne, became caught between the door and the frame of the tank and was crushed to death. The foreman and the laborer didn’t sync up their communication, resulting in a fatal accident.

“This was a terrible, preventable tragedy that underscores the importance of following OSHA’s standards to control hazardous energy by implementing a lockout program to protect workers who service or maintain machines,” Christopher Robinson, director of OSHA’s Pittsburgh Area Office, said in a statement. “Employers must ensure that workers are protected from hazards and that procedures are in place to prevent senseless injury or death.”

In investigating the fatality, OSHA also conducted a wall-to-wall inspection. It allegedly found a variety of serious violations, which included:

  • not establishing lockout/tagout programs and procedures
  • not properly guarding floor holes
  • not evaluating the vacuum tank to determine if it was a permit-required confined space
  • not training employees the company expected to assist in responding to incipient-stage fires
  • not training employees on safety forklift operations, and
  • not anchoring a pedestal drill press to the floor.

OSHA has proposed a fine of $23,800.

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