Owners of tank cleaning companies nationwide, including those in Colorado, have to comply with safety regulations pertaining to the particular hazards of that industry. Failure to do so is a violation of workers’ rights to safe workplace environments that are free of known hazards. Following the completion of a recent investigation in another state, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration proposed $226,000 in penalties for a company’s continued failure to protect its workers.
The inspection followed the death of one worker and the need for two others to be hospitalized last October. OSHA said the employer sent workers into the confined space of the tank without testing the potentially toxic air inside. Workers were not provided with respiratory protection, nor were their safety harnesses attached to rescue lines.
OSHA also revealed that this company has been cited for similar violations in 2012 and 2014. Reportedly, these occurred at different facilities. It said the company continues to expect employees to enter dangerous confined areas and work with materials that may be hazardous without personal protective equipment.
When the violation of workers’ rights leads to injuries or death, the injured victims and the surviving family members of deceased workers can pursue financial relief to help them cope with medical expenses and/or end-of-life costs. Benefits claims may be filed with the Colorado workers’ compensation system. Along with compensation for the expenses, the program typically also provides coverage of lost wages that is based on the average weekly wages of the injured victim or the deceased worker. This compensation is paid for a predetermined period.
Source: gazette.com, “OSHA: Company ignored safety rules, ‘cost a man his life'”, April 6, 2016