NITRO, W.Va. -- The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Thursday cited a Nitro chemical plant for a dozen serious violations that regulators said led to a worker's death.
Federal regulators cited AC&S Inc. with 12 violations following an investigation into the death of AC&S worker Rex Wilcoxen, who died after inhaling dangerous gases while working in the plant's railcar cleaning unit on June 25.
Authorities said Wilcoxen was sandblasting the railcar when he suddenly fell over.
When emergency crews arrived, Wilcoxen was unconscious. He was rushed to a nearby hospital and was treated for hazardous gas inhalation, but he died several days later.
Kanawha County fire coordinator C.W. Sigman told the Daily Mail in July that Wilcoxen was wearing a breathing apparatus at the time he collapsed. He said no other hazardous chemicals were found at the scene.
Following an investigation into the incident, OSHA officials determined that Wilcoxen collapsed after his breathing apparatus was unintentionally connected to the wrong source.
Instead of connecting his supply line to a source of breathable air, Wilcoxen's supplied air hood was unintentionally connected to a nitrogen gas line.
The nitrogen displaced the available oxygen in Wilcoxen's hood, and he passed out.
Officials cited the company for several serious violations, which are those that lead to substantial probability of death or serious physical harm.