News Release

U.S. Department of Labor Cites Railcar Service Company After Investigation of Employee Fatality at Pennsylvania Worksite

PITTSTON, PA ‒ The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Dana Railcare – based in Wilmington, Delaware – for confined space hazards after an employee fatality in Pittston, Pennsylvania. The railcar service provider faces $551,226 in proposed penalties.

An employee asphyxiated in May 2019, while servicing a rail car containing crude oil sludge. OSHA cited the company for four willful and three serious violations for failing to protect employees from the hazards of entering permit-required confined spaces, and inadequate respiratory protection procedures. OSHA has placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

"This tragedy could have been prevented if the employer had followed proper safety procedures for entering and cleaning railcars," said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt. "Employers that fail to comply with the law will continue to see full and fair enforcement."

"Companies are legally required to test and monitor confined spaces for oxygen content before and during entry to confined spaces," said OSHA Wilkes-Barre Area Director Mark Stelmack.

OSHA offers several resources on Confined Spaces, including an Atmospheric Testing in Confined Spaces fact sheet, and a Permit-Required Confined Spaces booklet.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's Area Director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to help ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education, and assistance. For more information, visit https://www.osha.gov.

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.

Agency
Occupational Safety & Health Administration
Date
December 4, 2019
Release Number
19-2101-PHI
Contact: Leni Fortson
Contact: Joanna Hawkins
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