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OSHA News Release – Region 5
U.S. Department of Labor
Region 5 News Release: 08-1210-CHI
Sept. 19, 2008
Contact: Brad Mitchell or Scott Allen
Federal action proposes nearly $424,000 in penalties following March 2008 explosion
SPOONER, Wis. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $424,000 in fines against Cortec Corp.'s aerosol and liquid container filling plant in Spooner following a March 2008 explosion that caused serious injuries to two employees.
OSHA has issued six willful citations alleging violations of federal safety standards with proposed penalties totaling $378,000. Specifically, the federal workplace safety agency charged that Cortec failed to develop and implement a process safety management system to handle the flammable liquid propellants it maintained at the site and utilized for aerosol can production.
"If adequately developed and implemented, each cited process safety management deficiency would have led to an action resulting in the avoidance of this explosion," said Mark Hysell, director of OSHA's area office in Eau Claire, Wis. "This kind of indifference to proven approaches to safe handling of flammable materials will not be tolerated."
OSHA also has issued ten serious citations with proposed penalties totaling $46,000, alleging deficiencies with employee training, personal protective equipment, forklifts, respiratory protection, electrical hazards, storage of flammable and combustible materials and safe equipment de-energization practices.
Cortec Corp. maintains a total of four facilities located in both Wisconsin and Minnesota, which federal or state OSHA agencies have inspected on eight occasions since 1997. Citations at the four facilities have addressed electrical hazards, machine guarding and lockout/tagout deficiencies, storage and handling of combustible and flammable liquids, and other violations of workplace safety regulations.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to promote 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.
U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department 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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