US Department of Labor's OSHA fines Reading, Pa., chemical distributor
more than $64,000 for safety, chemical hazards
READING, Pa. – The U.S Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Brenntag Northeast Inc. with 14 safety violations, including chemical hazards found at the company's Reading facility. OSHA's September 2012 inspection was initiated as part of the agency's National Emphasis Program on process safety management for covered chemical facilities. The inspection resulted in $64,665 in proposed penalties.
The serious violations, with a $63,000 penalty, include failing to protect workers from chemical hazards associated with working on a formaldehyde loading system; protect against fall hazards; complete and revalidate a process hazard analysis and resolve analysis recommendations in a timely manner; develop a lockout/tagout program or line breaking procedures for the formaldehyde loading system; provide training on usage and maintenance of the formaldehyde loading system; conduct inspections and testing of the formaldehyde loading system; ensure an approved forklift for a hazardous area; and ensure the use of approved wiring. A serious citation is issued 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.
The other-than-serious violations, carrying a $1,665 penalty, include an electrical cord strung across a highly traveled road that make it exposed to vehicles running over it and a failure to decontaminate formaldehyde-exposed equipment. An other-than-serious citation is issued when a violation has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
"Process safety management prevents or mitigates a catastrophic release of toxic, reactive or flammable liquids and gases in chemical processes," said Kevin Kilp, director of OSHA's Harrisburg Area Office. "This company jeopardized the safety of its workers by failing to implement effectively OSHA's process safety management regulations."
Brenntag Northeast Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director in Harrisburg, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and 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 Harrisburg Area Office at 717-782-3902.
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, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 252-693-7828 or TTY 252-693-7755.