US Labor Department's OSHA cites AmeriGas Propane L.P. in Conroe, Texas,
for exposing workers to safety hazards; proposed fines total $105,000
3 workers hospitalized and 4 others treated and released due to a December 2012 fire
HOUSTON – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited AmeriGas Propane L.P. with 21 serious violations following a November 2012 fire that required three workers to be hospitalized and four workers to be treated and released. The Conroe plant inspection was expanded to include the national emphasis program on Process Safety Management Covered Chemical Facilities. Proposed penalties total $105,000.
The serious violations cited under the process safety management standard include failing to compile process safety information for safety systems, such as emergency shutdowns; ensure equipment complies with recognized and good engineering practices, such as relief systems; address various elements of a process safety hazards analysis, including the use of a methodology appropriate to the complexity of the process, human factors, facility siting and addressing action items or recommendations in a timely manner; inspect and test equipment, including vessels and piping and identify safeguards; and perform the lockout/tagout of equipment and processes and provide training for employees in the use of lockout/tagout. 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.
"Process safety management prevents the catastrophic release of toxic, reactive or flammable liquids and gases in processes involving highly hazardous chemicals," said David Doucet, OSHA's area director in the Houston North office. "It is the employer's responsibility to identify the hazard, correct the hazard and train the workers."
OSHA's standards contain specific requirements for the management of hazards associated with processes using dangerous chemicals. Additional information is available online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/processsafetymanagement/index.html.
The citations can be viewed at: http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/AmeriGasPropaneInc_735302_0426_13.pdf* and http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/AmeriGasPropaneInc_723281_0426_13.pdf.*
AmeriGas is a supplier of propane throughout the United States and employs more than 8,000. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA Houston North 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), the agency's Houston North office at 281-591-2438 or its Houston South office at 281-286-0583.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.
* Accessibility Assistance Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.