News Release USDL 98-89
Monday, March 2, 1998
Contact: Bill Wright (202) 219-8151
Deborah J. Zubaty (614) 469-5582
GEORGIA-PACIFIC RESINS, INC., AGREES
TO PAY $432,500 IN FINES FOLLOWING OSHA
INVESTIGATION OF COLUMBUS, OHIO, EXPLOSION
Following a 4-month investigation by the
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
(OSHA) of an explosion at the Columbus, Ohio,
facility of Georgia-Pacific Resins, Inc., the
company and OSHA have agreed upon a plan for
improving safety and health at the plant.
The accident claimed the life of one worker
and injured four others.
Under the terms of the settlement,
Georgia-Pacific Resins, Inc., has agreed
to pay $432,500 in penalties -- the total
proposed by OSHA -- and make significant
safety improvements at its Columbus, Ohio,
facility. OSHA issued the citations and
"We are pleased that Georgia-Pacific has
agreed to resolve this matter as quickly
as possible, in order to ensure maximum
protection for its employees," said
Secretary of Labor Alexis M. Herman. "The
agreement avoids the cost and burden of
possible prolonged litigation and furthers
the efforts of both Georgia-Pacific and
the Labor Department to ensure a safe
workplace at the Columbus facility."
Georgia-Pacific Resins, Inc., a manufacturer
of thermoplastic and thermosetting resins and
formaldehyde, is headquartered in Atlanta.
The company employs approximately 50,000
workers nationwide in more than 400 facilities.
The Columbus facility began operations in
1971 and currently employs 57 workers.
The incident occurred on Sept. 10, 1997,
when an 8,500-gallon reactor vessel used
for resin production exploded, killing one
worker and injuring four others. During
the subsequent investigation, OSHA found
numerous violations, all but one involving
the standard for process safety management
of highly hazardous chemicals.
"Georgia-Pacific's Columbus facility
cooperated fully during our investigation,"
said OSHA administrator Charles N. Jeffress.
"Now, the company wants to move forward. In
addition to paying the proposed penalties
and abating hazards discovered in the
investigation, the company has agreed to
implement additional safety and health
measures to help prevent future incidents."
Under the settlement agreement, Georgia-Pacific
will implement procedures to promptly and
completely address the findings and
recommendations of each process hazard
analysis and incident investigation report.
Additionally, the company will train each
employee involved in a covered chemical
process or operation in an overview of
the process and pertinent operating
procedures, including any actions taken
as a result of the process hazard analyses
or incident investigations.
To address employee training requirements,
Georgia-Pacific has agreed to implement
a state-of-the-art interactive computer-
based training system within the next 18
months, to train employees in running
simulated resin batches.
Georgia-Pacific is required to report to
OSHA the progress it will be making to
comply with this agreement and the process
safety management standard.
SUMMARY OF CITATIONS
Georgia-Pacific Resins, Inc.
Process safety information did not include process
chemistry for Novolak resin batches.
Process safety information did not include all safe
upper and lower limits.
Process safety information did not include an evaluation
of every consequence of deviation.
Process safety information did not include accurate piping
and instrument diagrams.
The employer did not perform initial process hazard
analysis for the Novolak resin process.
K-2 process hazard analysis did not consider all the
hazards of the process.
K-2 process hazard analysis did not address the
consequences of engineering control failure.
Process hazard analyses did not address facility siting.
Human factors checklists in the process hazard
analyses were not completed.
The employer did not communicate the actions of
the K-2 process hazard analysis to all affected employees.
The employer did not certify annually that the
operating procedures were current and accurate.
Inspections and tests on process equipment did
not address all items related to mechanical integrity.
All affected employees who operate resin batches
were not informed of and trained in changes to the
written operating procedures.
The incident investigation reports did not include
factors which contributed to the incidents.
The incident investigation reports were not
reviewed with all affected personnel.
The employer did not document that deficiencies
found in the compliance audit were corrected.
Each affected employee did not wear a hard hat
when working in areas where there was a potential
for injury to the head from falling objects.
The resin reactor vessels and associated controls
were not sufficient to minimize uncontrolled exothermic
The employer did not develop and implement written
operating procedures that provided clear instructions
for safely manufacturing resins.
The written operating procedures did not address
all the requirements for the operating limits.
The written operating procedures did not
effectively address the requirements for the safety
and health considerations.
The training program for operators did not
include all the required elements.
The employer did not provide refresher
training to each operator.
The employer did not correct deficiencies in
equipment that were outside acceptable limits before
further use or in a safe and timely manner.