US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Arkansas industrial explosives
manufacturer for exposing workers to chemical hazards
Austin Powder Co. cited for 23 safety and health violations; penalty totals $178,400
EAST CAMDEN, Ark. – Austin Powder Co. has been cited for 22 serious and one repeat safety and health violations by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for failing to correct multiple deficiencies in its chemical process safety management and other workplace safety hazards at its East Camden facility. The proposed penalty totals $178,400.
"OSHA's process safety management standard has stringent and comprehensive requirements to prevent catastrophic incidents, such as the uncontrolled release of highly hazardous chemicals," said Carlos Reynolds, OSHA's area director for its Little Rock office. "Employers must follow OSHA standards proactively to ensure the safety of workers exposed to hazardous chemicals."
The inspection, which began in February 2014, was initiated under OSHA's National Emphasis Program for Process Safety Management Standards, a detailed set of requirements and procedures employers must follow to address hazards proactively that are associated with processes and equipment involving large amounts of hazardous chemicals. In this case, a number of chemicals including cyclonite and octogen were used throughout the facility.
Serious violations were cited for failing to include OSHA-accepted chemical limits in the company's process safety information; to certify annually that the written operating procedures were current and accurate; to develop diagrams of the explosive manufacturing processes in the facility; and to train workers tasked with chemical and hazardous material cleanups. 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 repeat violation involves failing to conduct a process safety management compliance audit. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. A similar violation was cited in 2012 during an inspection at another Austin Powder facility located in McArthur, Ohio.
The citations can be viewed at: http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Austin_Powder_Co_957166_0730_14.pdf*.
Austin Powder, which manufactures industrial explosives and provides blasting services to customers nationwide, has headquarters in Cleveland. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with the area director, or contest the findings 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 Little Rock office at 501-224-1841.
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 exist 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 department's Reasonable Accommodation Resource Center converts departmental information and documents into alternative formats, which include Braille and large print. For alternative format requests, please contact the department at (202) 693-7828 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (federal relay).
* Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.