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Region 3 News Release: 12-2520-PHI (osha 12-132)
Dec. 26, 2012
Contact: Leni Fortson   Joanna Hawkins
Phone: 215-861-5102   215-861-5101
Email: uddyback-fortson.lenore@dol.gov   hawkins.joanna@dol.gov

US Labor Department's OSHA cites chemical manufacturer AC&S Inc.
in Nitro, W. Va., following July worker fatality

NITRO, W. Va. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited AC&S Inc. with 12 serious violations at the chemical manufacturer's Nitro facility after a July investigation initiated following the death of a worker performing sandblasting activities.

During the sandblasting activities, the air line for a supplied air hood was hooked up to a nitrogen gas line and the worker became unconscious. Nitrogen gas presents several risks, including displacing available oxygen. The serious violations related to the fatality included failing to label nitrogen lines at connection points and not ensuring that breathing air couplings were incompatible with other gas systems.

"ACS has a responsibility to ensure that its workers are safeguarded from workplace hazards and by not properly labeling its gas systems failed to protect a worker who ended up losing his life. That is intolerable," said Prentice Cline, director of OSHA's Charleston Area Office. "OSHA's standards are designed to prevent this kind of tragic incident."

Other serious violations included failing to provide training on hazardous chemicals, ensure stairways wider than 44 inches have handrails on each side, provide process safety information and process hazard analysis, use approved electrical chain hosts, develop a mechanical integrity program, and document that equipment complied with recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer know or should have known.

Proposed penalties against AC&S Inc. total $42,700. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or contest the citations and proposed penalties 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 Charleston office at 304-347-5937.

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 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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