Sherman Brothers Trucking Faces $100k in OSHA Penalties

A Crossett trucking company faces more than $100,000 in penalties after the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety & Health Administration cited it for 11 safety and health violations Monday.

Sherman Brothers Trucking Inc., which does business as Team Transport Inc., was investigated after a temporary worker was found unconscious inside a tanker trailer April 29 at the company’s facility at 2201 Hwy. 82 W. in Crossett. The worker, who had been cleaning the inside of the tanker, later died of asphyxiation.

OHSA cited Team Transport, part of S.B. Inc. of Harrisburg, Ore., for one willful violation, seven serious violations and three other-than-serious violations. The willful violation was for failing to maintain air monitoring equipment and failing to determine if the enclosed space was safe.

The willful violation carried a penalty of $70,000.

"Confined spaces can potentially contain hazardous atmospheres," OSHA Area Director Carlos Reynolds said in a news release. "In this case, the employer failed to implement all aspects of a confined space program, including training its workers. This lack of regard for worker safety is unacceptable and led to a loss of life."

The serious violations included failing to provide hole covers to prevent falls; failing to secure railings on platforms to prevent falls; providing instruction on use of respiratory use; proper sanitary maintenance of respirators; failing to ensure employees used rescue and emergency equipment. The penalties for the serious violations, not all of which related to the fatal accident, totaled $42,300.

The three other-than-serious penalties equaled $1,100. OSHA proposed a total of $113,400 in penalties for the 11 violations.

The company has 15 days from receipt of notification of citations to contest the findings and/or penalties submitted by OSHA.