US Labor Department's OSHA cites OPC Polymers in Columbus, Ohio, for
process safety management program deficiencies; fines exceed $138,000
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Yenkin Majestic Paint Corp. for 26 health violations after a cloud containing flammable vapors was released from the company's Columbus facility, which operates as OPC Polymers, on March 21. OSHA initiated an inspection under its national emphasis program on process safety management for covered chemical facilities. Proposed fines total $138,600.
The vapor cloud was caused by a copolymer reaction of flammable chemicals when over-pressurization occurred in the equipment. No injuries were reported.
"Employers must provide safe working conditions, especially for employees who work with highly hazardous chemicals," said Deborah Zubaty, OSHA's area director in Columbus. "It is clear that OPC Polymers failed to create safety procedures, and did not train and review procedures with employees to ensure their effectiveness."
Twenty-five serious safety violations relate to process safety management, including incomplete process safety information lacking maximum intended inventories, materials of construction, and accurate piping and instrument diagrams or design codes and standards. Violations specific to process hazard analyses include failing to address hazards of the process consequences to engineering and administrative control failures. Additionally, the violations include failing to implement written operation procedures and review and certify them annually, train workers on procedures, establish and implement written mechanical integrity and management of change procedures, 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.
One other-than-serious violation is failing to certify the completion of a personal protective equipment hazard assessment. 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.
The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Yenkin_Majestic_28228_0914_12.pdf*.
OPC Polymers, which employs about 190 people at the facility, 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 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 Columbus Area Office at 614-469-5582. 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 227-693-7828 or TTY 227-693-7755.
* Accessibility Assistance Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.