Occupational Safety and Health Administration in Refinery Wrongful Death Case

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued citations to Austin Industrial Specialty Services, L.P. (Austin Industrial). Austin Industrial is a defendant in a lawsuit filed by Muhammad Aziz on behalf of the widow, two minor children and estate of deceased employee David Godines. Mr. Godines died on February 23, 2011 while cleaning a tank car at the Lubrizol refinery in Deer Park, Texas. Lubrizol is also a defendant in the pending lawsuit.

OSHA has issued citations for five separate serious violations related to Mr. Godines’ death. The citations include failure to “identify and evaluate the respiratory hazard(s) in the workplace, including a reasonable estimate of employee exposures to respiratory hazard(s)”. Further reasons for violations include failure to “ensure that an employee’s exposure to hydrogen sulfide did not exceed the exposure limits” as well as failure to implement and administer engineering controls that would “keep the exposure of employees to air contaminants within the limits prescribed”. OSHA has further faulted Austin Industrial for failure to maintain “in the work place copies of the required material safety data sheets” as well as improper employee training.

Currently depositions are being taken in the case and discovery is ongoing.