Road Contractor Fined $250K for Exposing Workers to Burns, Falls at Asphalt Plant

OSHA says an incident during transfer of ambient-temperature oil from a 55-gallon drum into a 450° F hot-oil tank burned three employees

Last week, OSHA cited Kalispell, Mont., highway contractor Nelcon Inc. for exposing workers to burns and falls at a mobile asphalt mixing plant. A worker was hospitalized after falling 15 feet from an elevated surface and the company now faces more than $250,000 in fines.

OSHA reports the initial incident occurred during the transfer of ambient temperature oil from a 55-gallon drum into a 450° F hot-oil tank, subsequently burning three employees. OSHA inspectors determined that Nelcon Inc. failed to use fall protection systems; guard machinery; provide adequate personal protective equipment; control hazardous energy; and report a work-related incident leading to in-patient hospitalization within 24 hours, as required.

The incident is a stark reminder to:

1. Ensure proper identification and control (including PPE) of potential hazardous conditions and operational activities;

2. Ensure fall protection is in place for any working surface with an unprotected side or edge 4 feet (or higher) above a lower level