Following an explosion and fire that killed two workers and seriously injured two others, OSHA has fined a shipbuilder $1,322,000. According to OSHA officials, the company had the knowledge and equipment to protect the lives of its workers in a confined space, but willing failed to do so.

Following its investigation, OSHA cited the company for 17 willful and 11 serious violations. The willful citations are for failing to inspect and test the confined space prior to entry, and for failing to prevent entry into confined spaces where concentration of flammable vapors exceeds the prescribed limits.

The serious violations include the lack of a rescue service available for a confined space entry, and failing to properly ventilate a confined space.

In another incident, a triple fatality at a recycling facility resulted from the lack of air monitoring prior to allowing employees entry into a dry well to perform maintenance-type activities. The company should have checked for a lack of oxygen or the presence of another breathing hazard before any of its employees entered the dry well. If a hazard was found, protective measures would have needed to be implemented.

As a result of its findings, OSHA has issued four serious citations to the company for the confined space hazards.

OSHA defines a confined space as a space that has limited or restricted access of entry or exit, is large enough for a worker to enter and work in, but is not designed for continuous occupancy.

We know that OSHA is getting more active, and is conducting more inspections. How confident are you about your confined space program?

Is your confined space program in compliance?

If you have permit-required confined spaces, KellerOnline offers you tools and information to help you comply with OSHA's regulations and help to keep your employees safe.

The Confined Spacestopic provides you with:

  • ez Explanation of Confined Spaces
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Link to 29 CFR 1910.146, the Permit-Required Confined Space regulations and to Appendices A through F
  • OSHA's related Letters of Interpretation and the OSHA Compliance Directive

But that's not all.

The Confined Spacestopic also links you to employee training tools, including onlineand classroom-basedtraining programs. You'll also find activities to help you engage your employees, including: cartoons, games, puzzles, and posters. If you need to develop, or even re-evaluate, a written plan, KOL provides a template for you to use.

For more information on J.J. Keller & Associates, visit www.jjkeller.com