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Hydrogen sulfide gas deaths result in OSHA citations

Hydrogen sulfide gas deaths result in OSHA citations

U.S. federal workplace safety regulators cited and issued $59,576 in proposed fines against a Northern Mariana Islands-based construction company after three employees died from exposure to hydrogen sulfide gas.

On July 7, 2017, employees of Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands-based USA Fanter were working in and around a well that was not identified as a permit-required confined space, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Thursday in a statement. When one employee was overcome by fumes after entering the well, two other employees attempted to rescue him and were also overcome by the gas.

An OSHA investigation found that the company failed to conduct atmospheric testing, control atmospheric hazards, provide rescue and emergency services and provide employee training. The agency cited the company for serious confined-space violations.

“This case demonstrates how failing to follow necessary procedures in confined spaces can have deadly consequences,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Barbara Goto in San Francisco. “Employers must recognize the dangers of assigning work in confined spaces and take appropriate precautions to protect workers’ safety and health.”

A company spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment. 

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