Pullman Power fined $107K for safety and health hazards

RP news wires, Noria Corporation
Tags: workplace safety

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Pullman Power LLC for alleged workplace safety and health hazards after a fatal fire in March in the smokestack of the American Electric Power Plant in Moundsville, W.Va. Proposed penalties total $107,100.

Pullman Power LLC, with headquarters in Kansas City, Mo., is the job site general contractor at the plant.

OSHA initiated its investigation on March 5 in response to a report of the fatality, which resulted from a fire inside the smokestack that destroyed the fiberglass liner that was being installed.

"The company failed to implement procedures to control ignition sources in operations involving highly flammable, combustible and easily ignitable material," says Stanley Elliott, director of OSHA's Charleston, W.Va., area office. "This was a major hazard."

According to Elliott, the investigation yielded one alleged willful violation with a penalty of $63,000. There were seven alleged serious violations with a penalty of $44,100.

The alleged willful violation addresses the company's permitting employees to smoke inside the smokestack near the highly flammable material. Alleged serious violations include the lack of employee training on the hazards inside the smokestack; the use of infrared heaters around flammable material; the company's failure to perform air monitoring of the dust while grinding materials; the lack of employee training on the use of chemicals; the company's failure to provide a rescue plan or procedures to rescue personnel from the top of the 974-foot smokestack; the lack of procedures to prevent hot slag from falling into the areas where flammable materials were; and the lack of a fire watch in the area where cutting took place.

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. A serious violation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious injury could occur from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to appeal before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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