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AR Temp Worker Asphyxiated Inside Tanker Trailer

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Crossett, AR (WorkersCompensation.com) - Sherman Brothers Trucking Inc., doing business as Team Transport Inc., has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 11 safety and health violations, including one willful, for deficiencies of its permit-required confined space program and other workplace hazards at its Crossett facility. An inspection began in April after a temporary worker, who was cleaning the inside of a tanker trailer without proper training, was found unconscious and later died from an oxygen-deficient atmosphere.

"Confined spaces can potentially contain hazardous atmospheres. In this case, the employer failed to implement all aspects of a confined space program, including training its workers," said Carlos Reynolds, OSHA's area director in Little Rock. "This lack of regard for worker safety is unacceptable and led to a loss of life."

A willful violation was cited for failing to maintain air monitoring equipment and evaluate permit-required confined space conditions prior to entry. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

The seven serious violations cited include failing to guard open floor holes to prevent falling into the next level; stabilize a platform used to access a tanker cleaning area with railings or posts to prevent fall hazards; and train workers on confined spaces and hazard communications. The employer also failed to implement respirator, confined space and hazard communications programs. A serious violation occurs 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.

The three other-than-serious violations involve the availability of confined space training certifications and ensuring drums and totes containing chemicals were properly labeled with identity and hazard warnings. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

Proposed penalties total $113,400. The citations can be viewed at: http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Sherman_Brothers_Trucking_903056_1028_13.pdf*.

Team Transport is part of the S.B. Inc. family of companies, headquartered in Harrisburg, Ore., that includes Sherman Brothers Heavy Trucking, Lee's Trucking and Sound Transportation. The employer has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with the area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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