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Monday, August 8, 2016

OSHA fines South Jersey chemical facility $115K for exposing workers to flammable gas

OSHA fines South Jersey chemical facility $115K for exposing workers
to flammable gas, other hazards; finds 3 repeat, 8 serious violations
Employer name: Solvay Specialty Polymers USA LLC
Inspection site: 10 Leonard Lane, West Deptford, New Jersey

Citations issued: On August 1, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued citations to the employer for three repeat and eight serious safety violations.
Investigation findings: As part of the agency's national emphasis program for chemical facilities, OSHA inspected the company on Feb. 6, 2016, and found multiple violations of federal process safety management regulations, including not developing set written procedures for maintaining process equipment, which resulted in repeat violations.
In addition, OSHA issued citations for serious violations for the following:
  • Having incomplete process safety information for equipment in the process.
  • Failing to review operating procedures to comply with current operating practice.
  • Failing to inspect and test process equipment.
  • Failing to follow established procedures to manage changes to process chemicals, technology, equipment, and/or facilities.
  • Failing to respond properly to a compliance audit.
Quote: "Our inspectors focused on vinylidene fluoride, a liquified flammable gas manufactured and used at Solvay Specialty Polymers' chemical facility. This gas poses serious safety and health risks to this company's employees, including fire and explosion hazards, frostbite, skin and lung irritation, and liver damage associated with chronic exposures. An effective process safety management program is needed to protect workers and prevent the catastrophic release of highly hazardous chemicals," said Paula Dixon-Roderick, director of OSHA's Marlton Area Office.
Proposed penalties: $115,000