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OSHA: rail car refurbishment co. violated work safety rules again

A Kansas City, Kansas, business previously cited by federal workplace safety inspectors is apparently at it again. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that Rail Car Services LLC has committed 11 safety violations, including eight repeat breaches of the rules.

The company refurbishes rail cars. Its workers often enter the car from a door at the top. The job puts workers at significant risk, specifically from falls and exposure to atmospheric hazards. OSHA cited Rail Car Services last year for several safety violations related to these injury risks. The violations at that time included failing to ensure that fall protection systems were used in all areas, failing to require that workers use the systems and failure to train employees in use of respirators.

After an employee filed a complaint with OSHA, the agency investigated and found that many safety and health problems had "resurfaced" at Rail Car Services. Among the repeated violations were for rules governing work in confined spaces. The company is accused of once again failing to evaluate the rail cars to see if they qualify as confined spaces, and failing to train workers about when they are working in a confined space and where those spaces are located.

If true, these violations could be putting Rail Car Service's employees at risk of serious work injury or illness. Jobs such as rail car refurbishment contain enough risk of workplace accident without reasonable safety precautions in place to reduce that risk. A fall could cause broken bones, head and spinal injuries, while dangerous chemicals can lead to severe illness.

Source: Kansas City Business Journal, "OSHA cites KCK rail car refurbisher for 11 violations," Austin Alonzo, Dec. 9, 2013

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