April 14, 2015
OSHA cites Formosa Plastics Corp., 6 subcontractors for exposing workers to
chemical hazards at Point Comfort, Texas, worksite
Combined penalties for five incidents total $96,300
Employer name: Formosa Plastics Corp. Texas; Infinity Maintenance; Maxim Crane Works; APRM Inc., doing business as, Plant Maintenance Services; Clark Constructors LLC, Process Service Specialist and Turner Industrial Group
Site: Point Comfort, Texas
Date initiated: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration began investigating the natural gas processing facility in October 2014 after the facility experienced five incidents involving potential chemical releases in three days, resulting in worker injuries.
Investigation findings: OSHA proposed $50,000 in penalties for Formosa Plastics Corp. for eight safety and health violations, including:
- not having adequate permits or conducting preventative maintenance;
- improper maintenance of equipment contributed to the release of sulfuric acid and chlorine;
- not providing face shields to workers who removed sulfuric acid from storage tanks; and
- not requiring employees to wear respiratory protection when exposed to a chlorine vapor cloud.
Infinity Maintenance and Maxim Crane Works: The employers were each cited for one serious violation for not providing adequate training to the workers who sustained chemical burns from sulfuric acid. Each violation carries a $7,000 proposed penalty. Infinity Maintenance was also cited for not keeping accurate OSHA 300 recordkeeping forms, with a penalty of $5,000.
APRM Inc., Clark Constructors LLC, Process Service Specialist and Turner Industrial Group: The employers were each cited for one serious safety violation for exposing employees to a hydrochloric vapor cloud without providing adequate training on the possible hazards they could encounter. Combined proposed penalties total $27,300.
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.
Combined proposed penalties: $96,300
Quote: "Inhaling corrosive chemicals such as hydrochloric acid and chlorine can cause serious, even deadly, injuries," said Michael Rivera, OSHA's area director in Corpus Christi. "To send workers into that environment without personal protective equipment or proper training is unacceptable."
Information: The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the citations and 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 Corpus Christi Area Office at 361-888-3420.
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.
Release Number: 15-606-DAL
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