Oct. 9, 2014
OSHA cites Haverhill Chemicals after fatal injury
of an employee clearing reactor drain
HAVERHILL, Ohio – Following the death of an employee at Haverhill Chemicals LLC, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited the manufacturer for 21 serious and two other-than-serious safety violations. Many of the violations involve OSHA's Process Safety Management Standards, which contain specific requirements for managing highly hazardous chemicals used in work.
OSHA's investigation found the 61-year-old employee suffered fatal injuries on April 4, 2014, while clearing a blockage on the drain line to a reactor. An expansion joint failed and caused a thermally heated chemical mixture to spew onto the employee. The mixture predominately contained Bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA, and hydrochloric acid, acetone and phenol, used in the manufacture of resins, flame retardants and coatings.
"Haverhill Chemicals has a responsibility to ensure the safety of its workers by ensuring equipment used to carry highly hazardous chemicals is properly installed and maintained," said Nick Walters, OSHA's regional director in Chicago. "A long-term employee, preparing to retire and spend more time with his loved ones, lost his life in a preventable tragedy. A worker who dedicated his life to a job should never lose that life to that job."
The inspection found Haverhill Chemical plant officials failed to ensure misaligned pipes and expansion joints were repaired properly and adequate safety shields were installed before placing the reactor back in service. The company also failed to develop procedures for normal and emergency shutdown of the BPA reactor; address hazards for expansion joint failure; develop written procedures to maintain equipment used to process chemicals during maintenance; and train workers to install flexible expansion joints and associated equipment properly.
In addition, the company failed to conduct required inspections and maintain accurate inspection records; provide personal protective equipment, including clothing, boots, safety goggles and head coverings; and train workers to identify and handle hazardous chemicals.
An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.
OSHA has proposed fines of $134,000.
To view the citations, visit:
Houston-based Haverhill Chemicals began operating the former Sunoco Inc. site in Haverhill on Nov. 1, 2011, with a workforce of approximately 170 employees.
Haverhill Chemicals 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 Cincinnati office at 513-841-4132.
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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Release Number: 14-1792-CHI
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