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Company cited in accidental death

OSHA investigation found several safety violations at Hayden Station

— A Texas-based company has been cited and assessed about $18,000 in fines in the death of a Mississippi man who fell nearly 100 feet into an empty boiler at Xcel Energy’s Hayden Station.

Herb Gibson, Denver area director for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, said the company, Southeast Texas Industrial Services, received one citation that included five serious safety violations after OSHA investigators completed their investigation of the death earlier this summer.

The company was cited for not having its scaffolding fully planked or decked between the front uprights and the guardrail; allowing the front edge of the scaffold platform to be greater than 14 inches, not having guardrails in the front and not having personal fall arrest systems in use; not providing employees with enough access to the nine-story scaffold; allowing debris to accumulate on the scaffold platforms; and not ensuring that employees were safe from falling.



In addition to receiving the multi-item citation, the company was assessed $18,000 in fines and ordered to correct the violations. The company also agreed to increase safety training for its employees.

Southeast Texas Industrial Services employed Jason Parks, 34, of Lucedale, Miss., as a pipe cutter and fitter. The company was subcontracted by Xcel Energy to repair one of its boilers.



Parks reportedly was working on the ninth level of the boiler when he fell from the scaffolding to the bottom of the cone-shaped boiler, officials said in April. He was not wearing a safety harness at the time of the fall.

Routt County Coroner Rob Ryg said Parks died of blunt force trauma.

“Overall, they’ve made some great improvements since this tragic death,” Gibson said. “They were extremely cooperative and have made some serious modifications to their training programs.”

Gibson said the company has provided evidence that it is now in compliance with OSHA regulations.

Richard Broussard, Southeast Texas Industrial Services safety director, declined comment Thursday beyond what Gibson said.

Xcel Energy was not cited in the accidental death, Gibson said.

A second company, Denver-based Safeway Services, also was cited in the accident, though the company is contesting the citation, Gibson said. Safeway Services reportedly provided the scaffolding that was being used at the time of the accident. The company is being cited for not ensuring that the scaffolding was fully planked and not having guardrails or other safety precautions in place. OSHA also has assessed a $20,000 fine. Because the citation is pending, Gibson could not discuss specific details.

Hayden Station is a coal-fired, steam-electric generating power plant with two operating units. Three electric companies own the plant, and Xcel has operating responsibilities.

– To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234 or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com


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