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OSHA Fines Chemical Recycling Company $207,800 for Safety and Health Violations

October 21, 2009

Our Orange County, California Labor and Employment Attorneys, have been tracking the recent worker health and safety violation fines brought against CES Environmental Services, by The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

OSHA has fined CES Environmental Services, Inc., based in Port Arthur and Houston, Texas, a total of $207,800, for 34 alleged workplace safety health and violations, after the life of worker Charles B. Sitting was claimed, due to improper handling of the hazardous chemical hydrogen sulfide.

The most serious of the violations was allegedly "willful," and responsible for $63,000 of that total fine. The violation was based around the company's failure to create a proper rescue team to immediately respond to an emergency, if a worker becomes incapacitated during chemical tank cleanings in the confined spaces of the barges. OSHA issues "willful" citations when employers show indifference or intentional disregard for employee health and safety.

The other 32 alleged charges were classified as "serious" violations, including failure to evaluate hydrogen sulfide exposures, create proper procedures for the processing of waste stream, create procedures for contamination, and train employees on the dangers associated with enclosed space entry on the barges. According to OSHA, a "serious" violation is one in which there is "substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer should have known."

The final "other-than-serious" violation was given for failure to remove liquid waste regularly.

CES performs a variety of jobs that involve industrial waste processing, cleaning of tanks, and recycling oil.

Dean McDaniel, OSHA's regional administrator in Dallas, claimed that if CES Environmental Services would have followed OSHA's standards, this tragedy could have been avoided.

OSHA's Houston Office began citing penalties of $16,600 in December of last year, after Sitting's death investigation in Port Arthur. OSHA has been investigating the death of another worker from July, that happened on the Houston site.

The two plants were closed in August, after a raid by federal agencies and the police. The company is also said to be connected to a criminal investigation involving the Houston Police Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's environmental crimes unit, and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

OSHA's goal, under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, is to promote and maintain safe working conditions for all of America's workers.

At Howard Law, PC, our Labor and Employment Lawyers are knowledgeable about defending health and safety violations in the workplace, in Orange County and throughout Southern California. Contact us today for a free consultation at 1-800-872-5925.

Confined Space-Related Death Leads to $207,800 Fine for Chemical Recycler,, October 14, 2009

OSHA Fines Waste Processor $207,800 for Deadly Accidents, Houston Chronicle, October 10, 2009

U.S. Department of Labor's OSHA Cites Chemical Recycling Company Following a Fatality at Port Arthur, Texas, Worksite, OSHA Press Release, October 9, 2009

Related Web Resources:

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration, (OSHA)