July 20, 2007
Contact: Rich Kulczewski
Phone: (303) 844-1302
Agency proposes $126,500 in penalties for willful and serious violations
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited the Chemcentral Corp. chemical distribution facility in Kansas City for two alleged willful and four alleged serious violations following a fire and multiple explosions at the plant in early February. The agency is proposing penalties totaling $126,500.
"Chemical distribution facilities have the potential to be extremely hazardous," said Charles E. Adkins, OSHA's regional administrator in Kansas City. "Employers must remain committed to keeping the workplace safe and healthful."
The alleged willful citations address the improper storage and handling of liquids, and failure to provide guard rails or other means of fall protection for employees walking and working on top of above-ground storage tanks that were more than 10 feet above the ground. The alleged serious citations address hazards associated with improper storage separation distances between above-ground storage tanks, means of egress and failure to train employees on the physical hazards of liquids.
Willful violations are those committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations. Serious violations are those which could result in death or serious physical harm and about which the employer knew or should have known.
Chemcentral Corp., headquartered in Bedford Park, Ill., has 15 working days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
OSHA's mission is to assure the safety and health of America's working men and women by preventing injuries, illnesses and fatalities. The agency has a vigorous enforcement program, having conducted more than 38,000 inspections last year and exceeding its inspection goals in each of the last seven years. In fiscal year 2006, OSHA found nearly 84,000 violations of its standards and regulations.
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 assure the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
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