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Region 3 News Release: III-02-08-28-104-PA
Date: Wed., Aug. 28, 2002
Contact: Leni Uddyback-Fortson
Phone: (215) 861-5102
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- A deficient process safety management program at Sunoco, Inc.'s Frankford Plant, Philadelphia, Pa., has prompted the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to cite the company for safety and health violations and propose penalties in the amount of $128,500. The facility, employing 265 workers, is a chemical plant that operates using large quantities of flammable materials.
OSHA initiated its inspection on March 4, 2002 in response to a complaint. According to Phyllis Kyner, area director of the Philadelphia OSHA office, citations were issued for one willful violation with a proposed penalty of $40,000; two repeat violations with a proposed penalty of $50,000; ten serious violations with a proposed penalty of $37,500; and three other-than serious violations with a proposed penalty of $1,000.
"Because of the large quantities of flammable chemicals used during production, identifying and planning for all possible production outcomes is vital to ensuring the safety of workers at the plant," says Kyner.
The willful violation addresses the company's failure to have written procedures for testing and inspecting process equipment. The repeat violations were due to the company's failure to perform and document inspections on process equipment; failure to sufficiently manage a change in the process; failure to train operators in changes made to the operating procedures; and failure to update process information following a change in the process.
The serious violations included the company's failure to maintain and follow normal operating procedures; failure to provide refresher training to process operators; failure to correct deficiencies in process equipment in a safe manner; and failure to provide necessary training to emergency responders and fire brigade members. Other-than-serious violations were cited for the company's failure to record an on-site injury; failure to maintain surfaces free of asbestos debris; and failure to document corrective actions identified by an incident investigation.
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 in which a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
The company has 15 working days from the receipt of the citations to decide to comply, to request an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the Independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
The inspection was conducted by the Philadelphia Area Office, U.S. Customs House, Room 242, 2nd and Chestnut Streets, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Phone: (215) 597-4955.
U.S. Labor Department news releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this release will be made available in alternative 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.
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