OSHA continues investigation into fatal incident at power plant near Franklin

KBTX News 3 at Ten(Recurring)
Published: Jun. 5, 2023 at 10:46 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

FRANKLIN, Texas (KBTX) -The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is currently in the early stages of investigating the circumstances surrounding a contract worker’s death in an explosion at the Oak Grove Power Plant near Franklin last Wednesday.

According to reports made to 911, the explosion occurred shortly after 8 a.m., resulting in the injury of a contractor at the scene. The contractor later succumbed to their injuries, as confirmed by Luminant, the parent company of the power plant.

At that time Luminant said that the incident took place during the commissioning of a new auxiliary boiler around 8 a.m.

Monday OSHA also confirmed that they’re still looking into the incident that took place in February where four workers were rushed to the hospital after being exposed to a possible hazardous chemical.

“They are unrelated incidents however any time that we do an investigation we open an inspection with all employers on site so that we have an opportunity to talk to all of those employees that are present,” said OSHA Area Director Monica Munoz.

Data shows that in 2021, over 5,000 people lost their lives due to work-related injuries, and an additional 2.6 million suffered job-related injuries.

OSHA, unable to comment on the ongoing investigations, emphasizes that many of these fatalities and injuries are preventable.

The recent work-related fatality in Robertson County sheds light on the inherent dangers of certain jobs.

Federal OSHA has 10 regional offices and 85 local area offices and plays a vital role in ensuring the safety and well-being of employees in their working environments. Despite being a small agency, Federal OSHA, in collaboration with state partners, employs approximately 1,850 inspectors who are responsible for safeguarding the health and safety of 130 million workers across more than 8 million worksites nationwide.

Last year, OSHA conducted a total of 31,820 inspections. These inspections included 17,739 unprogrammed inspections, Unprogrammed inspections which entail employee complaints, injuries/fatalities, and referrals.

Additionally, there were 14,081 programmed inspections, which are strategically focused on industries and operations with known hazards, such as COVID-19, respirable silica, combustible dusts, chemical processing, ship-breaking, and falls in construction.

“OSHA’s mission is to ensure that employees have a safe and healthy working environment,” said Munoz.

Their mission involves conducting inspections and site visits, both routine and in response to serious injuries or fatalities. During these visits, OSHA works to gather important information to identify any potential hazards and determine the causes of incidents and accidents.

While employers hold the responsibility for maintaining a safe work environment, employees also have a duty to report unsafe conditions. OSHA protects employees from retaliation and provides whistleblower assistance if needed.

“An employee also has the right to bring up safety and health concerns to their employer without any type of retaliation. In the event, there is retaliation an employee can contact OSHA as well and we have a whistleblower department that can assist that employee,” said Munoz.

Following last week’s accident at the Oak Grove Power Plant, OSHA confirmed they were on the ground at the facility the next day to initiate their investigation.

Munoz says the agency is in the process of gathering facts and assessing the work environment for any potential hazards. This includes reviewing safety programs, requesting documentation, and conducting employee interviews.

Typically, OSHA investigations following a death or serious injury take approximately six months to complete, according to OSHA officials.

KBTX News 3 at Six Weekday EXTENDED(Recurring)