NITRO, W.Va. (AP) — Federal regulators on Thursday cited a chemical company for a dozen violations at a plant in Nitro where a worker was killed in June.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration said the worker at AC&S Inc. died while sandlblasting. The company identified the worker as Rex Wilcoxen.
Federal investigators found that the air line for the worker's air hood was hooked up to a nitrogen gas line, causing the worker to become unconscious.
OCHA cited the company for 12 violations, all of which it characterized as serious, meaning that there is a "substantial probability" that death or serious injury could occur. They include failing to properly label gas systems, not ensuring that breathing air couplings were incompatible with other gas systems and failing to provide training on hazardous chemicals.
"ACS has a responsibility to ensure that its workers are safeguarded from workplace hazards and by not properly labeling its gas systems failed to protect a worker who ended up losing his life. That is intolerable," Prentice Cline, director of OSHA's Charleston Area Office, said in a statement. "OSHA's standards are designed to prevent this kind of tragic incident."
The company faces $42,700 in penalties. It has 15 business days to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director or to contest the citations and penalties before an independent OSHA commission.
AC&S said the loss was difficult for everyone in the small company and that it was working with federal regulators to fix the problems.
"As safety is paramount, we began working with OSHA immediately following the accident to address its concerns and do all that we can to ensure that this type of accident will never happen again," the company said in a statement.