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OSHA News Release – Region 5
U.S. Department of Labor
Region 5 News Release 04-404-CHI
March 22, 2004
Contact: Brad Mitchell
Phone: (312) 353-6976
CINCINNATI, Ohio -- The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued citations and fines to Aldrich Chemical Company for failure to safely process hazardous chemicals. OSHA inspected the company's Isotec, Inc. facility in Miamisburg, Ohio after an explosion in September injured a worker and caused substantial damage and the evacuation of 2,000 area residents.
"To ensure that injury and illness rates continue to decline, we must make sure that employers protect employees from workplace hazards," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "The significant penalty of $256,500 in this case demonstrates this Administration's commitment to protecting the health and safety of American workers."
OSHA's inspection resulted in three willful and 17 serious citations. Most of the alleged violations pertain to standards for process safety management of highly hazardous chemicals. Willful violations were issued alleging the lack of written standard operating procedures for nitric oxide distillation systems, failure to ensure the mechanical integrity of those systems and inadequate auditing procedures under the process safety management standard.
Isotec uses nitric oxide gas to produce isotopes used in medical and agricultural research, allowing researchers to trace metabolic pathways inside the human body. Isotec is the only company in the United States that operates this type of process.
The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to appeal before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
In fiscal year 2003, the Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted almost 40,000 inspections, an increase of more than 2,000 inspections over FY 2002 levels; more than half focused on high-hazard industries. OSHA is dedicated to saving lives, preventing injuries and illnesses and protecting the health and safety of America's workers. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department releases are accessible on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call (202) 693-7773 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.
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