Company Cited in Airport Confined Spaces Fatality Case

Source: Sarote Pruksachat - 123RF

Austin, TX – OSHA has cited Liquid Environmental Solutions of Texas LLC for workplace safety hazards, following an employee fatality at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in April 2019.

The company faces $301,188 in fines.

The employee suffered asphyxiation while inside a manhole access space that lacked adequate oxygen, and a means to escape.

OSHA determined that the company – which provides vacuum trucks to empty the airport’s grease traps – lacked proper procedures, training, and equipment for accessing the permit-required confined space.

According to Austin-Travis County EMS, the worker was found unconscious and in cardiac arrest and transported to South Austin Medical Center with critical, life-threatening injuries, where he later died.

Two other patients were transported with serious, non-life-threatening injuries.

OSHA’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor, Loren Sweatt, said, “This tragedy could have been prevented if the company had followed proper safety procedures, such as air testing, communication systems, and non-entry retrieval devices for employee rescue situations.”

“Companies are legally required to test and monitor confined spaces for oxygen content before and during entry,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Eric Harbin.

OSHA’s Confined Spaces page includes a fact sheet on Procedures for Atmospheric Testing in Confined Spaces, a Confined Spaces Advisor, and a booklet on permit-required confined spaces.