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October 25, 2023
OSHA: Tank service firm failed to protect workers from toxic gas

Trimac Transportation Inc., operating as National Tank Services, faces $399,349 in Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fines after two employees suffered injuries from exposure to hydrogen sulfide, the agency announced October 23.

OSHA cited the company with nine health violations, including two willful, three repeat, and four serious.  

The flammable, highly toxic colorless gas was present during the cleaning process ­­of a tanker truck on April 25 at National Tank Services’ Beaumont, Texas, facility. Two municipal firefighters responding to the scene also suffered injuries from the gas. 

The two employees were transported to a hospital, where one was hospitalized due to the exposure. The first responders were treated on the scene. 

OSHA inspectors determined that National Tank Services didn’t provide adequate respiratory protection. Inspectors found that the company didn’t evaluate the worksite for possible respiratory hazards like the one that sickened the workers and didn’t monitor employees for exposure to other substances. According to the agency, the company also failed to provide workers with appropriate respirators, manage a required respiratory protection program to provide workers with medical evaluations before respirator use, and conduct respirator fit testing. 

Agency inspectors also found that National Tank Services again failed to provide protective clothing and eye, face, and hand protection; didn’t label containers; and failed to provide injury and illness logs to OSHA within 4 business hours—violations previously cited within the past 5 years at facilities in Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas.

Workers also were exposed to fall hazards because the company failed to install mid-rails on a stairway and on a catwalk platform guardrail system, according to the agency.

“Exposure to toxic gases is a known health risk when cleaning tanks and trailers. National Tank Services must cease their lax approach to health and safety standards and immediately implement respiratory protection requirements, testing and other safety measures to prevent worker’s exposure to these deadly gases,” Mark Briggs, OSHA’s Houston area office director, said in an agency statement. “The company’s repeated violations of federal and industry-recognized safety and health standards resulted in the hospitalization of one employee and injuries to another worker and first responders on the scene. This will not be tolerated.”

National Tank Services, a subsidiary of Trimac Transportation of Canada, operates 30 maintenance and tank cleaning locations across North America, according to OSHA.

Wisconsin contractor facing $133K fine for safety violations

General contractor Brookens Constructions LLC faces $132,593 in OSHA fines for failing to perform site inspections to confirm its subcontractors followed safety procedures; not providing eye protection, exposing workers to flying debris while using pneumatic nail guns; using a damaged ladder; and not training workers about fall hazards, the agency announced October 23.

OSHA inspectors observed a worker shingling a residential roof without fall protection at a worksite in Appleton, Wisconsin. The worker was employed by a subcontractor, Eaglevision LLC of Elgin, Illinois. 

OSHA cited Brookens Construction in 2019 and 2022 for similar hazards in three separate inspections. Brookens provides roofing services in the greater Madison, Milwaukee, and Green Bay areas, according to the agency.

“Our inspector found that Brookens Construction’s project manager failed to require subcontractors working on their job sites to comply with safety and health requirements despite spending several hours at each site documenting satisfactory replacement of a residential home roofs,” Robert Bonack, OSHA’s Appleton, Wisconsin, area office director, said in a statement.

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