Kansas truck wash cited for violations

Kansas truck wash company cited after deadly gas exposure, cited $171,680 in proposed penalties.

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March 11, 2024 - 2:49 PM

Investigators with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found Red Barn Truck Wash failed to implement several safety measures. Photo by Getty Images/Kansas Reflector

TOPEKA — A truck washing company in Liberal faces $171,680 in citations following one death and two injuries because of safety violations.

Investigators with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found Red Barn Truck Wash failed to properly check conditions of tanker trailers before sending in workers to clean them. The investigation stems from a Sept. 1, 2023, incident in which two workers were hospitalized and another fatally injured from hydrogen sulfide gas exposure.

The report, released Thursday, said the company failed to educate workers about potential hazards and did not check for hazardous conditions, such as testing the atmosphere of the trailers for hydrogen sulfide gas before sending workers to clean inside.

OSHA cited Red Barn Truck Wash with two willful violations and 24 serious violations. Violations included a lack of respiratory and hearing protection programs and fall hazards, with workers potentially risking a nine-foot fall while cleaning the trailers.

“Wherever organic matter such as crops and other materials are stored, hydrogen sulfide may be present as a natural byproduct. Workers must never enter storage facilities, tankers or other confined spaces without doing atmospheric testing and wearing protective equipment such as respirators capable of preventing inhalation of this colorless and toxic gas,” said Wichita-based OSHA area director Todd Underwood.

Red Barn Truck Wash has 15 business days after receiving notification to either comply with charges, request an informal conference with the OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings.

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