OSHA proposes Frit fines

Published 6:00 am Thursday, October 8, 2009

By By Kerry Whipple Bean

An April incident in which four Frit Car workers were overcome by vapors while working in a rail car has led the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to propose $364,350 in fines for the Brewton company for alleged health and safety violations.
Frit Car is a railcar repair facility with two plants in Brewton and Bridgeton, N.C.
Company officials released a statement Tuesday about the citations:
The company has 15 business days from receiving the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director in Mobile or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, OSHA officials said.
According to a statement from OSHA’s Mobile office, the agency cited the company with five “willful violations” relating to:
Those alleged violations led to a proposed $315,000 fine, OSHA said.
A willful violation is defined as one “committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health,” OSHA officials said.
Frit Car is also cited with 17 “serious” safety and health violations, with $47,950 in proposed penalties, related to alleged deficiencies in the enclosed and limited space program, including hazards associated with housekeeping and equipment.
A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known, OSHA officials said.
Two “other-than-serious” citations with a $1,400 proposed penalty are being issued to the company for recordkeeping deficiencies and not properly storing air-supplied air respirators after usage.
The other-than-serious violations refer to those that have a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
After the April 3 incident, Brewton fire officials said four workers were overcome by fumes from a chemical in a rail car at the plant. Two workers were LifeFlighted to a Pensacola, Fla., hospital and one was taken to D.W. McMillan Memorial Hospital. A fourth worker was treated at the scene.

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