March 10, 2015
OSHA fines Bluewater Thermal Solutions $42,000 for 8 safety violations
Employer name: Hi Temp Northlake LLC, operating as Bluewater Thermal Solutions in Northlake, Illinois, a subsidiary of Bluewater Thermal Solutions of Greenville, South Carolina. The company specializes in heat treating powder metal parts.
Inspection site: Bluewater Thermal Solutions, 75 E. Lake St. Northlake, Illinois
On Sept. 9, 2014, an inspection was initiated by the Chicago North Area Office of the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration under its National Emphasis Program for Process Safety Management at chemical facilities, which contain specific requirements for managing highly hazardous chemicals in work processes.
Investigation findings: Workers at Bluewater Thermal Solutions were exposed to dangerous chemicals, such as anhydrous ammonia, which was utilized as fuel at the Northlake metal heat treating facility. Ammonia can be a health hazard because it is corrosive to the skin, eyes and lungs. It is also a flammable vapor.
A total of six serious violations were cited involve failing to:
- Develop an appropriate process safety employee participation plan
- Develop written operating procedures
- Train workers on the hazards associated with chemicals used in the work process and protective measures
- Identify safeguards to control hazards, such as a potential ammonia leak
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.
Proposed Penalties: $42,000
Quote: "Exposure to anhydrous ammonia can cause severe health effects and must be prevented," said Angeline Loftus, OSHA's area director in Chicago North. "Workers should not be put at risk because Bluewater Thermal Solutions failed to implement the required protections."
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 Chicago North Area Office in Des Plaines at 847-803-4800.
# # #
Release Number: 15-251-CHI
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The department's Reasonable Accommodation Resource Center converts departmental information and documents into alternative formats, which include Braille and large print. For alternative format requests, please contact the department at (202) 693-7828 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (federal relay).