The big news of the week was DuPont being fined for the multiple fatality incident from November of last year. There were many questions of how the employees entered the space, how the space filled with gas, why the rescue efforts failed, and how did the equipment malfunction. From the article and a summary of the OSHA citations, it appears that there were a number of failures from all those aspects. The key take away for me was that when non-standard conditions come up, there has to be a process to evaluate the risk and change the way the work is being done.
A man that was using a bucket as a bathroom was found dead due to carbon monoxide poisoning. The worker was with a traveling group that pressure washed remotely. Because they did not have facilities, they kept a bucket in the back of the truck to act as a bathroom. The back of the truck also had the gas powered pressure washer. The back of the truck filled with fumes as he was using the bucket. His co-workers found him unconscious. A sad lack of planning from the company’s part by not providing the right bathroom or the right ventilation.
A surveying company was fined by OSHA after one of their employees died on the job from a bear attack. Hazards present themselves in various ways. Taking time to perform a strong Job Safety Analysis or Task Hazard Analysis can be of great assistance in preparing for the work that is about to be performed.
A man was fatally killed during a lawn mower incident but OSHA proposed no citations. One of those facts about OSHA is that if you are working exclusively for yourself, OSHA does not cover that business. This lawn care company was owned by the individual that was killed, and he was the only employee. During the investigation, OSHA could not cite based on that aspect of the law.