Region 6 News Release: OSHA-06-603-DAL
Wednesday, April 5, 2006
Contact: Diana Petterson or Elizabeth Todd
Phone: (214) 767-4776, ext. 222 or 221
POINT COMFORT, Texas -- A Point Comfort, Texas-based petrochemical company's alleged failure to protect employees from flash fire hazards has resulted in proposed penalties totaling $148,000 from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
OSHA cited Formosa Plastics Corp. with one willful and 13 serious violations following a fire and explosion at the company's Formosa Drive plant that resulted in 12 people being injured, four of whom were hospitalized with severe burns.
"OSHA has inspected Formosa Plastics numerous times for many of the same violations," said John Giefer, OSHA's area director in Corpus Christi. "If the company had followed OSHA standards, it is possible that the injuries sustained by these workers could have been avoided."
The willful citation was issued for failure to provide employees with flame resistant clothing for protection against flash fire hazards. A willful violation is one committed with intentional disregard of or plain indifference to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
Alleged serious violations included failing to: safeguard employees from open manholes; repair stairways to avoid fall hazards; fireproof steel support structures; complete a process safety analysis to address ignition sources; follow safety practices regarding highly flammable liquids; protect employees from electrical hazards. A serious violation is one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Formosa Plastics Corp., which manufactures plastics, is headquartered in Livingston, N.J. The company employs about 4,500 workers nationwide, about 1,800 of whom work at the Point Comfort facility.
The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply, request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA's Corpus Christi area director or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call OSHA's Corpus Christi area office at (361) 888-3420 or OSHA's toll-free hotline number, 1-800-321-6742, to report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers.
Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request at (202) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.