US Labor Department's OSHA cites Sanimax for violating process
safety management procedures at De Forest, Wis., biodiesel plant
DE FOREST, Wis. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited biodiesel manufacturer Sanimax Inc. for 13 safety violations at its De Forest facility. After receiving a complaint, OSHA opened an inspection focused on the agency's process safety management standard for facilities that use hazardous chemicals. Proposed fines total $76,500.
"Failing to follow process safety management procedures to reduce workers' exposure to the unexpected release of hazardous chemicals is unacceptable," said Kim Stille, OSHA's area director in Madison. "Employers have a responsibility to ensure that work environments are healthful and safe."
Twelve serious violations of the PSM standard involve failing to have adequate information concerning the technologies of the process, such as safe upper and lower limits for temperature, pressures, flows and compositions; develop and implement written operating procedures; document that equipment complies with recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices; correct deficiencies in the process hazard analysis; perform inspections and tests on process equipment; document fire protection requirements prior to beginning hot work operations; implement procedures for management of change; ensure employees covered under emergency response operations were adequately trained; conduct a process hazard analysis on the hydrogen storage and transfer unit; ensure written operating procedures covered abnormal operating situations; record required equipment inspections and conduct testing at required intervals; take action to correct deficiencies noted during equipment inspections; conduct a management of change analysis when required; and respond to deficiencies noted in an 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.
One other-then-serious violation was failing to develop a written plan of action for employee participation in the process safety management of the biodiesel process. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
OSHA's standards contain specific requirements for the management of hazards associated with processes involving dangerous chemicals. More information is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/processsafetymanagement/index.html.
Sanimax, which has multiple locations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, reclaims materials such as animal byproducts and used cooking oils for goods including tallow, glycerin, proteins, leather and biofuels. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings 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 Madison Area Office at 608-441-5388.
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 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.