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Highway contractor faces fines after three workers burned south of Laurel

Posted at 3:18 PM, Apr 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-24 18:54:16-04

LAUREL – A Kalispell-based highway contractor is facing just over $260,000 in fines for 23 OSHA violations after three workers suffered hot oil burns during construction of the new Rockvale to Laurel highway on Oct. 25, 2018

A Tuesday release from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration said Nelcon Inc. failed to use fall protection systems, control hazardous energy, and failed to provide personal protective equipment to workers.

In citation documents, the U.S. Department of Labor said workers were exposed to second- and third-degree burns while pouring ambient temperature oil from a 55-gallon drum on top of an elevated excavator bucket. They poured the ambient temperature oil into a heat oil expansion tank.

The documents later state the ambient temperature oil reacted with the 450 degrees Fahrenheit oil already in the tank. This reaction caused hot oil to be released from the fill cap.

The release states that three workers suffered second- and third-degree burns in the October incident. One worker was hospitalized after falling approximately 15 feet.

Nelcon Inc. didn’t report a work-related incident leading to in-patient hospitalization within 24 hours, according to the release.

The company has 15 business days to respond to the OSHA violations.

MTN has reached out to Nelcon Inc. and will update this story with any comment.

Reporting by Mitch Lagge for MTN News