PITTSTON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — A New Jersey based company plead guilty to committing an OSHA violation that resulted in an employee’s death, United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced Thursday.
In May of 2019 an employee of Dana Rail Care in Pittston entered one of the rail cars to scrape away crude oil from the walls of the car. Approximately 30 minutes later, court papers say, the employee collapsed in the car.
The employee later died on scene and the death was ruled asphyxiation. The judge says the employee had not been properly outfitted with an OSHA-certified respirator and the car was determined to be oxygen-deficient.
“The death of the employee was a tragedy and could have been avoided if the company
had followed the regulations for this type of dangerous activity,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney
Bruce D. Brandler.
Under OSHA regulations, employers are required to test and monitor the conditions within a confined space to ensure the atmosphere is not hazardous. Employers are also to provide any employee tasked to work within these conditions with a respirator, OSHA says.
The charge stems from an investigation by OSHA and the Department of Labor’s Criminal Investigation Division.
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