OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
Region 2 News Release: NY 116
February 18, 2000
Contact: Chester J. Fultz
SAFETY VIOLATIONS; 27 WORKERS RECEIVED TREATMENT FOLLOWING AUGUST, 1999 CHEMICAL SPILL
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited the U.S. General Services Administration for two alleged willful violations and one alleged serious violation of OSHA standards in a warehouse in Burlington, New Jersey.
According to OSHA area director Gary Roskoski, the action results from an investigation conducted from August 17, 1999 to February 17, 2000 at a federal government supply warehouse at 1900 River Road in Burlington, New Jersey. OSHA compliance officers went to the warehouse after receiving reports from news media of a chemical spill. Their investigation disclosed that a quantity of about 1800 pounds of calcium hypochlorite powder, used to chlorinate swimming pools, was spilled on the warehouse floor. Cleanup activities led to 27 employees' being treated for chlorine exposure at a local hospital.
OSHA alleges that the agency willfully violated OSHA's emergency response standard by failing to develop and implement an emergency response plan and to train employees required to assist in containment and clean-up. Another willful violation was alleged for failing to conduct an employee exposure assessment or provide respirators and chemical safety goggles. If the employer were in the private sector, the violations would carry a penalty of $110,000.
The warehouse was also cited for storing materials with incompatible flammable material, an alleged serious violation which would carry a $2,500 penalty in the private sector.
A willful violation is defined by OSHA as one committed with an intentional disregard for, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the OSHA act and regulations. A serious violation is defined as a condition which exists where there is a substantial possibility that death or serious physical harm can result.
The investigation was conducted by OSHA's Marlton area office, located at Marlton Executive Park, 701 Route 73 South, Building 2, Marlton, New Jersey, telephone (856) 757-5181.
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