US Labor Department's OSHA cites Heritage-WTI for deficiencies in process
safety management program, other violations; fines total $126,000
EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Heritage-WTI Inc., a hazardous waste treatment and disposal facility in East Liverpool, with 11 health violations, including one willful for failing to review and annually certify operating procedures for the process safety management of hazardous chemicals. Proposed fines total $126,000.
OSHA initiated a health inspection in February under the agency's National Emphasis Program for PSM Covered Chemical Facilities as a follow-up to a December 2011 safety inspection. The December inspection, which resulted in citations for nine safety violations, was conducted after a worker was killed at the facility by a metal dust deflagration that occurred while he was manually separating the contents of 55-gallon drums containing metal wastes and residue.
"Employers must provide safe working conditions, especially for employees who work with highly hazardous chemicals," said Howard Eberts, OSHA's area director in Cleveland. "These citations basically mean that Heritage-WTI failed to create safety procedures and then review those procedures to ensure their effectiveness."
A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
Ten serious safety violations involve failing to conduct a process hazard analysis on the kiln, provide documentation that proves the kiln complies with recognized good engineering practices, address problems found in process hazard analyses and correct deficiencies in the kiln's written operating procedures. Additional serious violations include failing to provide processes or procedures to ensure that spare parts and equipment are suitable for their intended applications, review incident reports with workers whose job tasks are relevant to the findings, conduct a compliance audit at least every three years and respond to deficiencies found in compliance audits. 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.
OSHA's standards contain specific requirements for the management of hazards associated with processes using highly hazardous chemicals. More information is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/processsafetymanagement/index.html.
The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Heritage-WTI-Inc_189909_0806_12.pdf*.
Heritage-WTI, which employs about 185 people at the plant, has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area office or contest the citations and 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 Cleveland Area Office at 216-615-4266.
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.
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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 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.
* Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.