According to a September 29, 2011 news release, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Texas Barge & Boat Inc. with one willful and 39 serious safety violations after a tragic fire that killed two employees in Freeport.
A total of nine employees were performing cutting operations and fire watch on a barge in a confined space with poor entrance and exit access. A flash fire occurred, and two workers were reported missing and later dead.
Mark Briggs, Houston South Area Office OSHA director said, “It is critical that air monitoring is conducted when employees perform cutting operations in confined and enclosed spaces. This accident could have possibly been avoided if the company had followed OSHA’s standards.”
The multiple citations handed down include one willful failure to conduct an air-monitoring test before the employees entered the confined space. OSHA defines a willful violation as “intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard to the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health.”
The other 39 serious violations cited range from safety on deck to electrical problems. The company had 15 days to fix or contend the violations and has been assessed fines of about $220,000. Of course none of this can make up for the loss of life caused by the negligence of the company.
The Young Firm in New Orleans greatly regrets the deaths of the two Texas workers and extends its sincere sympathy to the families of both men.