The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has

cited Saia Motor Freight Line for twelve safety and health violations, comprised of one willful

and eleven serious violation. These citations come in response to an inspection in August of 2014

after an explosion which injured four workers in a St. Louis facility. The explosion was a result

of a forklift’s ignition source and a loose coupling connection to a liquid propane gas tank.

Investigators found that two forklift operators were charging a propane tank on a liquefied

petroleum gas-powered forklift inside a freight trailer when a loose coupling connection

permitted liquid propane to leak, vaporize, and ignite, causing a flash fire. These violations carry

proposed penalties of $119,000.

“Workers must be trained to avoid deadly combinations of flammable fuels, ignition sources and

confined spaces, which allow vapors to ignite quickly,” said Bill McDonald, OSHA’s area

director in St. Louis. “This incident should remind all employers that using forklifts is one of the

hazards workers may face daily.”

The willful violation was cited when inspectors found several powered industrial trucks with

defective or bypassed safety switches being used when they were in need of repairs. The

majority of the serious violations were related to propane hazards.

When working with propane or any potentially flammable chemical, it is important to be sure

your facility is up to code. If you let your policies and procedures get outdated or if you do not

follow them, your employees will be at risk and your company will be at risk of an OSHA audit.

If you have any questions about properly establishing occupational safety and health policies and

procedures, please contact us. If you have anything to add about this case or the importance of

establishing accurate policies and procedures, please leave a comment.