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OSHA proposes fines for CSX over Baltimore coal terminal explosion

Company says it plans to discuss alleged violations with federal agency

A CSX train heads to its next destination. (Photo: Shutterstock/Alejandro Guzmani)

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is proposing CSX be fined $121,200 over citations related to a December 2021 explosion at the company’s coal terminal in Baltimore.

The explosion, which occurred at CSX’s Curtis Bay Coal Terminal, was felt from several miles away, according to local media reports and tweets from nearby residents. Following the blast, CSX said all employees were accounted for and there were no injuries.

The penalties CSX faces include nine serious and two other-than serious citations following an OSHA-initiated inspection on Jan. 4, 2022. 

According to OSHA’s June 29 letter to CSX (NASDAQ: CSX), the citations range from employees not using appropriate respirators or emergency protective equipment, per federal regulations, when checking on the North Tunnel and Northwest Escape Tunnel; failure to provide documentation designating which areas within the coal terminal are designated as hazardous locations; and failure to ensure a properly equipped designated person tested the atmosphere prior to employees entering. 

Once CSX receives all the citations and the proposed penalties, it has 15 days to comply or request an informal conference with OSHA.

In response to OSHA’s letter, CSX told FreightWaves in a statement that “CSX is committed to ensuring the health and safety of our employees and neighboring communities. We have been in communication with OSHA regarding its June 29th letter and are scheduled to discuss the alleged violations with the agency in greater detail before CSX’s July 22, 2022, deadline to contest the citations.”


Information on the cause of the explosion is still pending.

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Joanna Marsh

Joanna is a Washington, DC-based writer covering the freight railroad industry. She has worked for Argus Media as a contributing reporter for Argus Rail Business and as a market reporter for Argus Coal Daily.