OSHA cites Tuscaloosa-based refinery following fatal accident

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited two companies following an employee’s death at a Tuscaloosa refining facility.

According to a press release by OSHA, Turner Specialty Services LLC and the Tuscaloosa-based petroleum refiner Hunt Refining Co. collectively face over $106,000 in penalties after a Turner employee suffocated to death when he lost his air supply while on the job in a confined space at Hunt.

“OSHA cited Turner Specialty Services LLC – an industrial contractor – for failing to ensure personnel outside the permit-required confined space were capable of providing effective rescue,” the release stated. “OSHA also cited the contractor for allowing an employee to enter the permit-required confined space with insufficient lighting equipment, and for assigning members of the rescue team other duties that prevented them from responding to an emergency event.”

OSHA cited both Turner and Hunt for failing to ensure that the confined space entry permits identified all dangers of the space, as well as document that all the steps required to ensure the employee’s safety in a confined space were completed.

“OSHA also cited Hunt Refining Co. for failing to ensure, through periodic evaluations, that Turner Specialty Services fulfilled their obligations as specified in the Process Safety Management standard,” the release stated.

“Employers should never allow workers to enter a space without properly evaluating the hazards and following required safety standards associated with entry,” said OSHA Area Director Ramona Morris.

The companies have 15 days to comply or contest OSHA’s findings.

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