OSHA initiated an inspection after the Washington Township New Jersey Police Department notified the agency that the workers died from CO exposure after a gasoline-powered lawnmower was started inside an enclosed company trailer that transported the crew to a job site. OSHA issued serious citations to AJR for exposing the employees to carbon monoxide, and for failing to train employees to recognize the hazard. The company faces penalties of $17,051.
“Any time there is a gas-powered motor or engine running in an enclosed space, there is risk of exposure to exhaust fumes, which contain carbon monoxide, an odorless and poisonous gas,” says OSHA Area Office Director Lisa Levy, in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey. “This tragedy was preventable if the employer had adhered to basic safety and health practices.”
OSHA provides compliance assistance resources on preventing carbon monoxide poisoning at https://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_General_Facts/carbonmonoxide-factsheet.pdf.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.