ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration today announced Coomes Oil & Supply Inc. has been cited in August's explosion at a BP gas station.
According to an OSHA news release, a delivery driver for Florida Rock & Tank Lines was refilling an above-ground gasoline storage tank that had a broken gauge.
PICTURES: BP Gas Station Explosion
The tank overflowed. Vapors then combined with heat from the running delivery truck to trigger the explosion.
The OSHA inspection found that the gas station and Florida Rock & Tank Lines refilled the tank despite the inoperable liquid level gauging system.
OSHA has proposed a $70,000 fine be leveled against Florida Rock & Tank Lines along with a citation for one willful violation.
This violation is for "failing to provide the delivery driver to determine if the storage tank had enough capacity for additional gasoline."
A "willful violation" is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, according to the release.
In addition to Florida Rock & Tank Lines, Coomes Oil & Supply has also been issued a citation by OSHA. Coomes Oil & Supply has been cited for failing to provide employees and delivery drivers a mean to determine the gasoline levels in the above-ground storage tank, a "serious violation" according to OSHA.
According to the release, a "serious violation" occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. A $7,000 fine has been proposed for Coomes.
Brian Sturtecky, OSHA's area director in Jacksonville said, "Despite the fact that safety gauges and devices were inoperable, the employers chose to proceed with the operation and risk the lives of their employees. Unfortunately for the injured employee, the two companies involved in this explosion learned a safety lesson by means of a terrible incident instead of taking the steps they should have to protect their workers in the first place."
Jacksonville-based Florida Rock & Tank Lines transports petroleum and other liquid and dry bulk commodities throughout the Southeast.
Coomes Oil & Supply owned and operated 5th Wheel BP, a full-service gas station located on State Road 16 in St. Augustine that closed following the explosion. First Coast News attempted to interview a representative from Coomes this afternoon, however, the company replied, "No comment."
According to OSHA, the companies have 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
First Coast News