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Region 5 News Release: 11-1593-CHI
Nov. 8, 2011
Contact: Scott Allen      Rhonda Burke
Phone: 312-353-6976      312-353-6976
Email: allen.scott@dol.gov      burke.rhonda@dol.gov

US Labor Department's OSHA cites Akzo Nobel Surface Chemistry in Morris,
Ill., for violating process safety management procedures at chemical plant

MORRIS, Ill. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Akzo Nobel Surface Chemistry LLC in Morris, a manufacturer of chemical surfactants, for nine serious violations of OSHA's process safety management standards. OSHA initiated the inspection in May after a release of methyl chloride was reported at the plant. Proposed fines total $63,000.

"Failing to follow process safety management procedures to reduce workers' exposure to hazardous chemicals is unacceptable," said Kathy Webb, OSHA's area director in North Aurora. "Employers have a responsibility to ensure that work environments are healthful and safe."

The serious violations involve failing to conduct a process hazard analysis on the hydrogen storage and transfer unit, allowing seven pressure relief valves to be missing the required design basis, failing to ensure that written operating procedures covered abnormal operating situations, failing to record required equipment inspections and conduct testing at required intervals, allowing unqualified individuals to conduct equipment inspections, failing to take action to correct deficiencies noted during equipment inspections, failing to conduct a management of change analysis when required and failing to respond to deficiencies noted in an audit. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

OSHA's standards contain specific requirements for the management of hazards associated with processes using dangerous chemicals. Additional information is available online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/processsafetymanagement/index.html.

Akzo Nobel Surface Chemistry has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's North Aurora Area Office at 630-896-8700.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.


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