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Texas Contractor Fined Over Refinery Worker Death

A 45-year-old pipefitter collapsed and died in March of 2015 while working outdoors in three layers of clothing and a chemical suit.

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Federal labor officials last week cited a Texas contractor after one of its workers succumbed to excessive heat at a Louisiana refinery.

Pasadena-based JV Industrial faces a proposed fine of $7,000 for one serious safety violation. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration alleged that the company failed to implement a heat management program for workers wearing chemical-resistant suits.

A 45-year-old pipefitter collapsed and died in March of 2015 while working outdoors in three layers of clothing and a chemical suit. JV Industrial was contracted to demolish piping in the sulfuric acid alkylation unit at Valero's St. Charles petroleum refinery.

"While the temperature outdoors was 83 degrees, JV Industrial failed to take into consideration the increased heat stress caused by the specialized clothing being worn by the workers as they cut and removed the piping," said Dorinda Folse, OSHA's Baton Rouge area director. "A life was needlessly lost because the employer failed to implement a heat management program to protect workers."

JV has 15 business days following receipt of the citation to either comply, request a conference with OSHA officials or contest the findings.

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