SCR Construction Cited Following Death of Worker

July 31, 2013

OSHA has cited SCR Construction Co. Inc. of Richmond, Texas, with 17 safety violations and placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP) following the January 2013 death of a worker. The worker died when the flammable barrel he was torch cutting exploded at the employer’s maintenance yard.

"SCR Construction was aware of a near miss involving ignition and overpressurization of another drum just weeks before the fatal explosion, and did nothing to address it, which could have prevented this tragedy," said Mark Briggs, director of OSHA's Houston South Area Office. "It is the employer's responsibility to safeguard the workplace, and that means finding and fixing those hazards that could lead to injury or loss of life."

A willful violation was cited for failing to thoroughly clean drums or barrels containing flammable substances before welding or cutting work to prevent worker exposure to ignition or toxic emissions.

The 12 serious violations include failing to provide hand and eye protection; lockout and tagout energy sources; train and certify workers on powered industrial trucks; provide machine guarding; properly store and handle compressed gas; and provide hazard communication training.

Four other-than-serious violations include failing to provide an inhalation exposure assessment, respiratory protection, personal protective equipment hazard assessment and mark and inspect the alloy steel and synthetic web slings. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

OSHA has placed SCR Construction Co. Inc. in its SVEP, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. Initiated in June 2010, the program focuses on employers who have demonstrated recalcitrance or indifference to their OSH Act obligations by committing willful, repeated or failure-to-abate violations in one or more of the following circumstances: a fatality or catastrophe situation; in industry operations or processes that expose workers to severe occupational hazards; exposing workers to hazards related to the potential releases of highly hazardous chemicals; and all egregious enforcement actions.

Proposed penalties total $131,670. SCR Construction Co. has 15 business days from receipt of the current citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.