Liberal truck wash cited $171k for OSHA violations

LIBERAL, Kan. (KSNW) — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the Red Barn Truck Wash in Liberal with 24 violations and a proposed $171,680 in penalties stemming from an investigation into an incident that left one worker dead and two others injured.

The incident happened on Sept. 1, 2023. First responders rushed to an EMS call at the Red Barn Truck Wash just before 9 a.m.

The Liberal Police Department said three employees were unconscious in a tanker trailer. It appeared one of the workers became unconscious while cleaning inside the tanker, which was dirty after hauling sludge from a hog farm. Two other workers went in to help the man.

Rescuers put on protective gear and got the victims out. EMS took them to Southwest Medical Center.

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One of the men died. One was transported to Wichita. The third was admitted to the hospital in Liberal. Their identities have not been released.

A news release says OSHA found the truck wash failed to evaluate the tanker trailers for hazardous conditions – including testing the atmosphere – and did not train workers on potential hazards before letting them enter the confined spaces.

The news release says inspectors found multiple violations of OSHA’s confined space regulations and noted Red Barn Truck Wash lacked both respiratory and hearing protection programs and exposed workers to fall hazards of up to nine feet while cleaning the trailers.

OSHA said the Red Barn Truck Wash has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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