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OSHA Cites Excavation Company After Worker Death

Posted By Arnold & Itkin || 17-May-2013

The United States Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is dedicated to promoting safety in work environments throughout the nation. When the department discovers a company that is not exercising proper safety measures, they conduct investigations. If they discover authorities in the company did not take every possible precaution, then OSHA has the right to cite the company for negligence.

Recently, OSHA cited a utilities company called Granbury Contracting and Utilities Inc. that is located in Gordon, Texas. The OSHA learned that the company committed willful and serious safety violations that resulted in the death of a worker at the facility. Employees were working on a new sewer line for the company and were exposed to a hazardous chemical called hydrogen sulfide as a result. Allegedly, one employee entered a manhole at the worksite to remove a plug and flush out accumulated debris in the hole.

When he entered the poorly ventilated hole, he became overwhelmed with the strong presence of hydrogen sulfide, collapsed, and died. Another employee was hospitalized when he tried to climb down in the hole and rescue the worker. Hydrogen sulfide can cause almost immediate collapse when it is present in high concentrations.

Allegedly, Granbury Contracting and Utilities Inc. failed a test for atmospheric conditions and did not provide adequate ventilation and emergency retrieval equipment for workers before telling them to climb into the manhole. The supervisors were aware that this was out of line with the OSHA's standards, but still committed the violation.

Also, the company did not provide or require the use of respirators in the area with the toxic gas, and failed to determine the potential for a hazardous atmosphere where oxygen deficiency, methane and hydrogen sulfide could be present. The company failed to make sure that confined space procedures were followed, and it resulted in a devastating death that could have been avoidable. If you have been injured by exposure to hydrogen sulfide at an oil and gas refinery, an agricultural location, a sewer or septic location, or another industrial area where hydrogen sulfide is present talk to an industrial injury attorney at Arnold & Itkin LLP today

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