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Cal/OSHA cites two employers for carbon monoxide poisoning incident

Workers were not trained, informed of confined space dangers

Posted July 16, 2019

Cal/OSHA has cited two employers for serious accident-related health and safety violations after workers were poisoned by carbon monoxide while in a confined space.

In December 2018, two plumbers were working in a crawl space replacing underground sewer pipes for an airline caterer. They were using a gasoline-powered saw to cut through concrete when they were overcome by carbon monoxide gas emitted from the equipment, causing one of the workers to lose consciousness. Emergency crews assisted the workers, one of whom was hospitalized for two days.

Cal/OSHA’s investigation found that the catering company did not inform the plumbing company that the crawl space was a permit-required confined space, and did not provide information on the potential hazards posed by entering the space. Cal/OSHA also found that the plumbing company did not have a safety and health program and did not train workers. In addition, the employer did not develop a confined space program, take steps to mitigate the hazards, and did not have a rescue plan.

Cal/OSHA cited the plumbing company $50,850 for eight violations, including two serious accident-related, two serious, and four general in nature. The serious accident-related violations were cited for the company’s failure to implement a permit-required confined space program and its failure to train its employees on working safely in confined spaces. The serious violations were cited for the company’s failure to develop and implement a written permit space program and failure to obtain information about permit space hazard and provide that information to the workers entering the space.

The catering company was cited for $18,000 in proposed penalties for one serious accident-related violation for failing to communicate with the plumbing company about confined space hazards and precautions.

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