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Tampa Electric, Gaffin Industrial Services cited after molten slag release kills 5

Tampa Electric, Gaffin Industrial Services cited after molten slag release kills 5
Posted at 3:33 PM, Dec 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-28 15:35:19-05

APOLLO BEACH, Fla. — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Tampa Electric Co. and Gaffin Industrial Services Inc. after five employees were fatally injured, and one other suffered serious burns.

RELATED: Fifth worker dies after industrial accident inside TECO's Big Bend Power Plant

On June 29, a molten slag release fatally injured five people and burned one.

"We had employees that were working to unplug a blockage in that tank," TECO President and CEO Gordon Gillette said of the incident. "And hot molten slag actually came out of that blockage and created the incident.”

Employees of Tampa Electric, Gaffin Industrial Services, and Brace Integrated Services Inc. died in the incident.

OSHA cited Tampa Electric for failing to follow energy control procedures while performing maintenance on equipment.

Gaffin Industrial Services was cited for failing to develop procedures to control hazardous energy.

Both companies were also cited for failing to provide appropriate personal protective equipment to safeguard employees from burns.

The proposed penalties for both companies total $160,972.

“This tragedy demonstrates what can happen when hazards are not properly controlled,” said OSHA Atlanta Regional Administrator Kurt Petermeyer. “Employers must develop and implement necessary procedures to prevent incidents such as this from occurring.”

The companies have 15 business days from receipt of their 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.