US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Magnablend for serious
violations following chemical fire at Waxahachie, Texas, facility
Company failed to protect workers from fire hazards; proposed fines total $45,000
WAXAHACHIE, Texas – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Magnablend Inc. with seven serious safety and health violations following an October 2011 chemical fire at the company's blending plant in Waxahachie on West Highway 287 Bypass that burned the facility to the ground. Proposed penalties total $45,000.
OSHA's Fort Worth Area Office found that employees were exposed to fire hazards due to inadequate ventilation, which can create an accumulation of flammable vapors that lead to a fire or explosion. The violations are failing to conduct a hazard assessment, install a sufficient ventilation system, train workers in specific hazardous chemical protection procedures, evaluate respiratory inhalation hazards, ensure that the fire sprinkler system was adequate, use electrical equipment in accordance with its labeling, document the classification of hazardous locations for electrical purposes and ensure that electrical equipment was considered safe for the location where it was used. 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.
"Magnablend exposed its workers to fire hazards by failing to provide adequate ventilation that would have removed flammable hydrogen and other vapors," said Jack Rector, OSHA's area director in Fort Worth. "OSHA's standards must be followed to prevent injuries and illnesses. It is fortunate that no one was injured."
Magnablend specializes in the blending and manufacturing of chemicals for industrial and consumer markets, and is now operating at a new location in Waxahachie. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the area office or contest the citations and proposed 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 Fort Worth office at 817-581-7303.
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, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.