Onyx Industrial Services fined for safety, health violations

RP news wires, Noria Corporation
Tags: workplace safety

The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $117,500 in fines against Onyx Industrial Services Inc. of Nitro, W.Va., for allegedly failing to protect its workers from safety and health hazards at its worksite in Cheshire, Ohio.

The company was cited for one alleged willful, four alleged serious and one alleged repeat violations following an inspection by OSHA's Columbus area office in January. The investigation found that two employees became engulfed by lime slurry while hydroblasting inside a tank at the American Electric Power generating station in Cheshire. Onyx was contracted by American Electric Power to perform services and maintenance operations.

"Failing to comply with OSHA's safety standards when workers enter confined spaces puts them at unreasonable and unnecessary risk," said Deborah Zubaty, OSHA's area director in Columbus. "Employers are responsible for keeping the workplace free of hazardous conditions."

The willful citation was issued for failing to implement confined space entry conditions, exposing employees to engulfment and entrapment hazards. The alleged serious violations included failing to provide adequate personal protective equipment, failing to provide training on the hazardous conditions of entering a confined space and failure to identify rescue and emergency services for workers. A repeat violation was issued for failing to obtain the required information regarding the permit space hazards and entry operations.

OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations. A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm are likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. A repeat violation is defined as a violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order where, upon reinspection, a substantially similar violation is found.

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