The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today proposed $845,100 in penalties against RPI Coating Inc. of Santa Fe Springs, Calif., and $189,900 in proposed penalties against the Public Service Co. of Colorado, doing business as Xcel Energy, for alleged serious and willful violations of federal workplace safety and health standards following a tunnel fire last year that killed five employees.
"This catastrophe could have been avoided if the companies had followed their critical safety procedures," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Edwin G. Foulke Jr. "There should never be such a disregard for the safety of employees. Today's citations should serve as a reminder to all employers about the critical need to always provide a safe and healthful workplace for their employees."
The fire began at the Xcel Energy Cabin Creek hydroelectric plant in
Xcel Energy has been issued two willful citations with proposed penalties of $126,000 for failing to take precautions to protect its own employees from hazards in the tunnel and to arrange for rescue services. Xcel Energy also has received 19 serious citations with proposed penalties totaling $63,900, which include alleged fall hazards, the unsafe storage of compressed gas and electrical hazards.
The companies have 15 business days from the receipt of the citations to request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to promote the safety and health of