A Pennsylvania gas producer and operator has been recently cited for eight OSHA violations following an accident in which a worker died after being injured in a flash fire at the company's Ringgold gas well site. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration commenced an investigation in August of 2012 after the workplace accident occurred.
The violations included several that were considered "serious" by OSHA standards. Citations that are deemed serious are considered actions or inactions that pose a substantial probability of causing death or serious injury. Furthermore, an employer knows, or should reasonably know, about these risks but fails to prevent them. Violations included failing to require and provide flame-resistant clothing and fall protection as well as failing to provide a written hazard communication program and related training or to properly label tanks. An additional citation was specifically issued for failing to prevent workers from dangerously riding in a backhoe bucket. The company was also cited for not reporting the fatality to OSHA within an eight-hour period as required by law. The federal agency is proposing penalties of $22,400 for the violations of safety standards. The company has 15 business days to formally respond to the citations and to request a conference with OSHA.
OSHA was established to help set standards so that employers would provide safe and healthy workplaces for employees. The administration works to ensure that employers provide these conditions as well as training, education and assistance while also enforcing these standards.
A Pennsylvania employment lawyer may be able to provide assistance to workers who were injured or to their families, and a record of OSHA violations may help strengthen the lawyer's case for the injured client. A workers' compensation claim may help compensate the victim and his or her family for medical expenses and lost wages.
Source: Workers Compensation.com, "PA Employer Failed to Require and Provide Flame-Resistant Clothing for Natural Gas Work," March 6, 2013