Four companies accused of violating safety laws at Omega Protein Plant

Four companies accused of violating safety laws at Omega Protein Plant

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The Omega Protein Plant, along with three other companies, face thousands of dollars in fines for citations issued by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration(OSHA).

The U.S. Department of Labor made that announcement Monday stating Accu-Fab and Construction Inc., Omega Protein, and JP Williams Machine and Fabrication, all in Moss Point, and Global Employment, in Pascagoula all violated safety laws at Omega Protein Plant. The citations follow an investigation into an explosion that left one worker hospitalized, and killed 25-year-old Jerry Taylor in July 2014.

That accident occurred when Taylor and his co-worker were performing "hot work" on a tank containing volatile chemicals.

The OSHA investigation determined that a lack of training meant the two temporary employees would not have known that the tank they were working on contained explosive methane and hydrogen sulfide gases.

According to the Department of Labor, that lack of training, coupled with Omega Protein's failure to "verify, isolate, and remove fire and explosive hazards" from work areas led to the tragedy.

Omega Protein has been issued 13 citations for willful, repeated and serious safety violations with a possible total penalty of $139,700 in fines.

Omega Protein released this statement about the OSHA findings on Monday:

Omega Protein has received the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) inspection report regarding the incident at its Moss Point, Mississippi fish processing facility on July 28, 2014. The health and safety of our employees and contractors is an absolute priority for Omega Protein and we all take these findings very seriously.

The majority of the findings in the OSHA report have already been remedied, some of which were resolved on the spot during the OSHA site visit last summer. The last remaining items are already in the process of being addressed.

The Company is reviewing the OSHA report in more detail but does not agree with certain of the conclusions in that report. The Company expects that it will request a conference with OSHA and will appeal parts of its determination.

In total, 23 citations were issued. Accu-Fab and Construction Inc. is facing $42,000 in fines for seven citations. Global Employment Services has been issued two citations with a possible fine of $4,200.

And J.P. Williams Machine and Fabrication could pay a $1,020 fine for one citation. Omega Protein was cited for similar violations in 2012, following another fatal accident. Christopher Hebert was killed when he was caught in a rotating screw conveyer.

Click below to view the current citations:



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