After five employees were fatally injured, and one other suffered serious burns, Tampa Electric Co. and Gaffin Industrial Services Inc. are facing fines of $160,972 after the Apollo Beach, FL, incident, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

In June, investigators traveled to the Big Bend River Station electrical power plant in Apollo Beach following the fatalities.

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Inspectors determined the employees were burned when a blockage inside a coal-fired furnace broke free and spewed molten slag into the work area. Employees of Tampa Electric, Gaffin Industrial Services, and Brace Integrated Services Inc. died in the incident.

OSHA cited Tampa Electric for failing to follow energy control procedures while performing maintenance on equipment. Gaffin Industrial Services ended up cited for failing to develop procedures to control hazardous energy. Tampa Electric and Gaffin were also cited for failing to provide appropriate personal protective equipment to safeguard employees from burns.

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Proposed penalties for both companies totaled $160,972. Brace Integrated Services did not receive any citations.

“This tragedy demonstrates what can happen when hazards are not properly controlled,” said OSHA Atlanta Regional Administrator Kurt Petermeyer. “Employers must develop and implement necessary procedures to prevent incidents such as this from occurring.”

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