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Region 5 News Release 280
June 30, 2003
Contact: Brad Mitchell
Phone: 312-353-6976


Failure to Safely Handle Volatile Chemical Results in Workplace Explosion, OSHA Fine at West Central Ohio Plant

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- U.S. Chemical & Plastics, Inc., doing business as Catalyst Systems in Gnadenhutten, Ohio, is facing $105,500 in fines proposed Friday by the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) following a January, 2003 explosion at the plant located approximately 30 miles south of Canton, Ohio.

An OSHA investigation into the plant explosion and structural fire resulted in charges that the company violated a variety of workplace safety and health regulations, principally that Catalyst Systems had not implemented effective controls for the drying, handling and packaging of benzoyl peroxide. The uncontrolled explosion occurred shortly before noon in a paste room where benzoyl peroxide was processed. The chemical is used in the automotive aftermarket, reinforced plastics, cultured marble, cosmetics and bleaching, and is the chief product manufactured at the plant.

"It was fortunate that this explosion occurred during the lunch hour, or workers very well may have lost their lives," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "OSHA's first commitment is to protect workers from disasters such as this. We stand ready to assist employers of all sizes to make their workplace safe, but we will fully enforce standards when we must."

Catalyst Systems employs approximately 25 workers at the Gnadenhutten site, and was inspected by OSHA in 1989 and 1990. Those inspections resulted in the issuance of 24 citations in total, including citations for failure to label containers of hazardous chemicals. OSHA found the same violation in this most recent inspection.

According to OSHA Area Director Deborah Zubaty, Columbus, the company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to appeal before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

OSHA is dedicated to saving lives, preventing injuries and illnesses and protecting America's workers. Safety and health add value to business, the workplace and life. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.


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Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents

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