OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
Region 5 News Release USDL 04-2072-CHI
Oct. 22, 2004
Contact: Brad Mitchell
Phone: (312) 353-6976
Willful and Serious Workplace Safety Violations
OSHA Inspection Followed Deadly April Explosion
PEORIA, Ill. -- The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued citations and proposed penalties to Formosa Plastics Corp. of Illiopolis, Ill., following its investigation into an April 23 explosion that took the lives of five workers, seriously injured three others and destroyed much of the facility.
"Strong enforcement is a key part of this Administration's efforts to reduce workplace injuries and illnesses," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "The significant penalty of $361,500 in this case demonstrates our commitment to protecting the health and safety of American workers."
OSHA issued citations for 45 alleged serious violations and three alleged willful violations of federal workplace safety and health regulations. Serious violations included allegations of a wide range of hazards associated with control of flammable liquid and ignition sources, insufficient worker training, electrical and lockout/tagout hazards, insufficient training on emergency response, organization, and equipping of fire brigade personnel, among others. The alleged willful violations charged the company with failing to maintain fire protection equipment, failing to replace or repair defective equipment used in highly hazardous chemical processes, and inadequate inspections and tests of equipment used in processes involving highly hazardous chemicals.
Formosa Plastic employed some 136 workers in Illiopolis prior to the blast and approximately 4,000 workers company-wide. Formosa purchased the Illiopolis facility in 2002 and had no previous OSHA inspections.
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, OSHA 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's role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health. 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 at (202) 693-7765 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 http://www.dol.gov/compliance.
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