OSHA fines tank cleaning company 0K after three workers die in four years
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OSHA fines tank cleaning company $810K after three workers die in four years

OSHA fines tank cleaning company 0K after three workers die in four years

A Texas tank cleaning company has been issued citations for numerous safety violations after multiple workers died on the job over the past few years.

On July 8, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that Houston-based Quala Services LLC was issued numerous citations and ordered to pay $810,703 in penalties.

Quala Services deals with cleaning tanks used to transport hazardous materials.

“A La Porte tank cleaning company once again disregarded federal safety standards that could have protected its employees from unsafe work conditions and prevented the death of another worker,” OSHA said.

According to OSHA, two days before Christmas 2023, an employee’s wife and son reported that the employee had not returned home from his shift. The employee was found unconscious and later pronounced dead.

OSHA found that Quala Services “failed to ensure that atmospheric testing was conducted inside the tank before allowing the 53-year-old employee to enter” and cited the company for eight additional violations.

In November 2019, two company workers were killed while cleaning a tanker truck. After that incident, the company was reportedly cited by OSHA for the same violations that were uncovered after the December 2023 incident.

The violations for which the company was fined include:

  • Failure to implement measures to prevent unauthorized entry into a confined space for which a permit is required.
  • Failure to provide care for workers entering confined spaces requiring a permit.
  • Numerous deficiencies related to the permit for entry into confined spaces, including:
    • No indication of permitted duration of entry.
    • What emergency services and ambulance services should be called?
    • How to call the emergency services.
    • Failure to specify personal protective equipment, rescue equipment, communication means and alarm systems.
  • Excessive exposure of workers to carbon monoxide.
  • Failure to protect wires that entered the junction box from abrasion and leaving the electrical outlet without a cover.

“If Quala Services had acted responsibly and implemented the safety reforms required in 2020, another worker would not have lost their life,” said Larissa Ipsen, OSHA regional director in Houston. “This employer’s complete disregard for employee safety is unacceptable. Compliance with occupational health and safety standards is not optional. OSHA will use all of its tools to ensure employers comply with the law.”