March 2021 Enforcement

OSHA Cites Rail Services for Confined Space Violations


A U.S. Department of Labor workplace safety investigation has found a Hugo rail car products and services provider did not follow federal safety standards for working in confined spaces after two workers died from inhaling toxic fumes.

The department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined that an employee of Trinity Rail and Maintenance Services Inc. became unresponsive after entering a natural gasoline rail car with the intent of cleaning the space on Aug. 12, 2020. A second employee entered the rail car and was also overcome after attempting to rescue the fallen worker. Both workers were eventually recovered and later pronounced dead at a local hospital.

OSHA found that the company failed to require a permit to allow entry into the rail car, ventilate the space, monitor hazards inside a confined space and complete entry permits for work inside a confined space, as required. OSHA cited the company for 11 serious violations and two willful violations and has proposed $419,347 in penalties.

“Work inside confined spaces is a dangerous job and federal workplace safety standards must be followed to avoid disaster,” said OSHA Area Director Steven A. Kirby, in Oklahoma City. “As is the case here, failing to follow OSHA standards can be the difference between life and death.”

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