CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- AC&S Inc., a Nitro chemical manufacturer, has been cited for 12 serious violations by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration following a June accident that led to the asphyxiation death of Rex Wilcoxen, one of the company's workers.
According to a news release dated Wednesday, Wilcoxen was sandblasting at the plant using an air hood that was mistakenly hooked up to a nitrogen line. He lost consciousness, OSHA said, and was taken to a Charleston hospital, where he died.
In visits the next month, investigators from OSHA's Charleston office said they found a number of other unsafe conditions at the AC&S facility, located at 150 Plant Road.
The agency set penalties of $42,700 for the reported violations and ordered the company to fix the problems.
AC&S has 15 business days to comply with the citations, request an informal conference or contest the citations.
In a brief statement Thursday, an AC&S spokesman said the company is working with OSHA to address the concerns and prevent future accidents. He did not say whether AC&S plans to fight any of the citations.
The two largest fines -- $7,000 each -- were directly related to the accidental use of nitrogen instead of air in Wilcoxen's air hood, which led to his death.
"The employer did not furnish . . . a place of employment which was free from recognized hazards that were causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm . . . in that employees were exposed to the inadvertent use of nitrogen for supplied air when using a supplied air hood," one citation said.
"A nitrogen pipeline located next to a supplied air pipeline was not properly labeled . . . resulting in an employee connecting to the nitrogen line instead of the supplied airline which caused an asphyxiation death during sandblasting operations."
OSHA ordered AC&S to install a plantwide pipeline-labeling system, using the "correct color scheme" for nitrogen.