US Labor Department's OSHA fines Lion Copolymer in Baton Rouge, La.,
$182,000 for exposing workers to potential fires and explosions, other hazards
BATON ROUGE, La. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Baton Rouge-based Lion Copolymer LLC for one willful, 19 serious and three other-than-serious violations for exposing workers to possible fires, explosions and other hazardous conditions. Proposed penalties total $182,000.
OSHA's Baton Rouge Area Office began its inspection Oct. 13, 2010, at the company's facility on Scenic Highway as the result of a referral. The inspection was expanded as part of the agency's National Emphasis Program on Chemical Process Safety Management. The NEP emphasizes the management of highly hazardous chemicals and establishes a comprehensive management program that integrates technologies, procedures and management practices.
The willful violation was cited for failing to conduct adequate maintenance and inspections of critical valves. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
The serious violations include failing to maintain the structural integrity of pipe hangers and pipe support rods; ensure ammonia piping was thoroughly labeled as to its content; ensure operating procedures for the ammonia refrigeration system were certified by management in a timely manner; conduct visual inspections of process piping within the scheduled inspection frequency; ensure that employees in process and administrative buildings were located in the prescribed distance from a possible explosion zone; and report a leak in a critical 4-inch valve at the ammonia storage tank. 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.
The other-than-serious violations were cited for failing to maintain and complete OSHA's injury and illness logs. 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.
Lion Copolymer, a synthetic rubber manufacturer, employs about 122 workers at its Baton Rouge facility.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Baton Rouge, or contest the citations and proposed 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 Baton Rouge Area Office at 225-298-5458 or the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) to report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers.
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, audiotape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.