OSHA regional offices launch emphasis programs on transportation tank cleaning
Chicago — OSHA has launched a pair of Regional Emphasis Programs focused on reducing injuries, illnesses and fatalities among workers involved in transportation tank cleaning operations in the Midwest and South.
Instructional directives issued by OSHA’s Region 5 and Region 6 offices – issued Aug. 2 and July 23, respectively – state that transportation tanks are “confined spaces and may contain a potential hazardous atmosphere exposing workers to the risk of death, incapacitation, impairment of the ability to self-rescue or acute illness.” Other significant hazards associated with transportation tank cleaning are fires and explosions.
Transportation tanks are used to carry liquid or compressed commodities such as chemicals, diesel fuel, ethanol, water or food products.
The Region 5 program covers workplaces in Illinois, Ohio and Wisconsin, along with establishments in Indiana, Michigan and Minnesota under federal jurisdiction. The Region 6 program covers workplaces in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas, as well as those in New Mexico under federal jurisdiction.
Employers are encouraged to evaluate their facilities, address hazards and ensure they’re in compliance with relevant OSHA standards. The agencies will conduct enforcement and outreach activities that include training sessions, electronic information sharing, public service announcements, letters to employers and press releases.
Enforcement will begin three months after initial outreach activities, according to the directives, and include “the inspection and review of production operations, and working conditions; injury and illness records; safety and health programs; and chemical handling and use, to identify and obtain corrections of workplace hazards at all applicable inspection sites.”