OSHA issues citations, fines for fatal Tulsa sewer plant accident

Tuesday, February 8th 2005, 6:03 am
By: News On 6

Two construction companies face heavy fines after the recent death and injury of two employees. Now the Occupational Safety and Health Administration wants them to pay thousands of dollars for alleged safety violations.

Jenks based L & L Construction and Tulsa based Raven Linings were cited with several violations. OSHA says the companies either "should have known about" or "disregarded" the dangers.

This all started in August, when 28 year old Terry DeBuhr died on the job after he was exposed to hydrogen sulfide. Another worker, Charles Nelson, was seriously injured. Both men were working in an 8-foot by 12-foot deep man-hole when they were overcome by chemical fumes.

When emergency crews responded to the accident, their test meters picked up double the harmful amount of hydrogen sulfide in the work space.

OSHA says L & L Construction didn't test the air purity in the work space. It also claims Raven Linings failed to ensure proper respiratory protection for workers on another occasion.

OSHA is proposing the companies pay a combined $94,000 in fines. The companies have 15 work days to object to the charges or pay the fines. There's no word on how they'll respond.