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Saturday, August 18, 2012

OSHA proposes $82,500 in fines to chemical manufacturer for workplace hazards at Newark, NJ, facility

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Cardolite Corp. with one willful and 13 serious health and safety violations for exposing workers to chemical and other hazards at the company's Newark facility. OSHA initiated its March investigation in response to a complaint and also as part of the agency's national emphasis program on process safety management for covered chemical facilities. Proposed penalties total $82,500.

"Process safety management prevents or mitigates a catastrophic release of toxic, reactive or flammable liquids and gases in chemical processes," said Kris Hoffman, director of OSHA's Parsippany Area Office. "By not complying with PSM requirements, Cardolite jeopardized the safety of its chemical operators and others working at the site by exposing them to dangerous fire hazards. This negligent behavior will not be tolerated."

The willful violation is failing to monitor employees' formaldehyde exposure at six-month intervals. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health. The citation carries a $44,000 penalty.

The serious violations include failing to ensure that workers are not overexposed to formaldehyde, implement effective engineering controls and work practices to reduce formaldehyde exposure, provide medical surveillance to workers overexposed to formaldehyde, ensure that process safety information is accurate and in place, provide a hazard analysis of the facility in the event of a chemical release and its impact, provide refresher training to chemical operators on the epichlorohydrin process, inspect and test epichlorohydrin piping within the process building, and identify deficiencies in process safety management compliance audits. A serious violation occurs when there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. The citations carry $38,500 in penalties.

Cardolite Corp., which employs about 70 workers at its Newark location, develops and manufactures products based on cashew nutshell liquid for the coating, friction material and adhesive markets. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, ask for an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

The investigation was conducted by OSHA's Parsippany office; telephone 973-263-1003. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit

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