Connecticut manufacturer cited by US Labor Department's OSHA
for chemical hazards; StanChem Inc., faces $55,300 in fines
HARTFORD, Conn. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited StanChem Inc. for 13 serious violations of workplace safety standards at its East Berlin, Conn., manufacturing plant. The manufacturer of specialty coatings and polymers faces a total of $55,300 in proposed fines following an inspection by OSHA's Hartford Area Office.
Under OSHA's process safety management standard*, employers are required to develop, implement and update process safety management programs with regards to hazardous chemicals at their facilities. OSHA's inspection of StanChem found several deficiencies in the plant's process safety management program to identify, address and eliminate hazards associated with processes using, storing, manufacturing, handling or moving of large amounts of highly hazardous chemicals onsite. In this case, the hazardous chemical is the flammable liquid, vinyl acetate, which is used in large amounts at the company's plant.
"The requirements of OSHA's process safety management standards are stringent and comprehensive because failure to effectively implement a process safety management program can lead to a catastrophic incident," said Warren Simpson, OSHA's area director in Hartford. "The safety and well-being of the plant's employees are dependent on the employer effectively addressing all conditions, equipment and procedures involved in the polymer manufacturing process."
Specifically, OSHA found 13 serious violations because the company: lacked complete information about process equipment; failed to determine and document that the equipment met good engineering practices; lacked written procedures to manage changes to the process; had incomplete or outdated process hazard analyses; did not resolve process hazard analysis recommendations in a timely manner; failed to promptly address and resolve findings from a 2012 incident report; did not conduct a compliance audit of the process every three years and did not document correction of deficiencies cited in an earlier compliance audit.
A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about, which the employer knew or should have known.
Detailed information on OSHA's process safety management standards is available at www.osha.gov/SLTC/processsafetymanagement/index.html. An OSHA fact sheet regarding the process safety management of highly hazardous chemicals is available at www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_General_Facts/highly-hazardous-chemicals-factsheet.pdf*.
StanChem has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742), or the agency's Hartford office at 860-240-3152.
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 http://www.osha.gov.
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille or CD from the COAST office upon request by calling 292-693-7828 or TTY 292-693-7755.
* Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.