Flavoring manufacturer in Oakdale, La., cited by US Labor Department's
OSHA after a fire severely burns a worker
Natural Advantage cited for 19 violations
OAKDALE, La. – After a worker was injured in an August 2013 chemical fire, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Carol Callahan, doing business as Natural Advantage, for 19 serious safety and health violations at the Oakdale facility. Proposed penalties total $91,000.
"Natural Advantage violated various OSHA standards that, when followed, can protect workers from exposure to hazardous chemicals," said Dorinda Folse, OSHA's area director in Baton Rouge. "Employers must find and fix hazards to ensure the safety and well-being of their workforce."
OSHA's Baton Rouge Area Office cited serious health violations regarding overexposure to methylene chloride, including failing to institute and maintain effective engineering controls and work practices to reduce airborne concentrations of methylene chloride below the permissible exposure limits; provide each worker with an appropriate respirator, as required by the methylene chloride standard; and implement procedures to detect chemical leaks and make medical surveillance available. Additionally, respiratory hazards were not evaluated, and an appropriately trained worker did not administer the respiratory program. The company was also issued a hazard alert letter for overexposing workers to airborne concentrations of methyl mercaptan that exceeded the established threshold limit values determined by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists.
The company also exposed workers to numerous safety violations involving the hazards of flammable liquids and reactive chemicals, including failing to ensure the proper construction of a flammable storage room; ensure that flammable liquids, such as toluene and hexane were appropriately dispensed with an approved pump or self-closing faucet; and ensure water- reactive chemicals, such as butyryl chloride and diphosphorus pentasulfide, were not stored along with flammable liquids. Workers were not provided with training regarding flammable liquids and chemicals; an emergency response plan; and assured access to an emergency shower for potential exposure to sodium hydroxide and propionic acid.
Natural Advantage, which employs about 90 workers, began as a research laboratory and then expanded into a chemical manufacturing facility of different food and drink flavorings. It also operates a production facility in Lakeland, Fla. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's Baton Rouge 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 Baton Rouge Area Office at 225-298-5458.
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 or CD from the COAST office upon request by calling 292-693-7828 or TTY 292-693-7755.