OSHA Adds $64,000 To Existing Fines Against Chemical Processor
WEST CARROLLTON, Ohio — The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has concluded the second of two investigations into a May 3 explosion at Veolia ES Technical Solutions in West Carrollton and has issued an additional $64,000 in fines against the chemical processing company, bringing the total fines to $109,000. The $64,000 in proposed penalties are based on 16 serious violations of federal regulations governing process safety management. These regulations are intended to prevent or minimize the consequences of a catastrophic release of toxic, reactive, flammable or explosive chemicals. OSHA's first inspection, focusing on other workplace health issues at the facility, resulted in $45,000 in fines issued on Oct. 22. That inspection found 11 serious violations. OSHA initiated two inspections at this facility after powerful explosions occurred shortly before midnight on May 3. The explosions were the result of a large cloud of flammable and solvent vapor ignited by boilers at the worksite. Two employees were seriously injured in the blasts and several onsite buildings were destroyed. Veolia ES Technical Solutions distills and purifies contaminated organic solvent solutions at the West Carrollton facility. This second set of serious citations allege that the company failed to conduct compliance audits every three years to ensure that policies and procedures were in place for the handling of flammable liquids. They also relate to worker training deficiencies, inadequate testing and inspections of piping and processes, a lack of written standards for operating procedures, maintaining mechanical integrity of equipment and other items involving process safety. "The May 3 explosion underscores how vital it is that employers keep continuous watch on the handling of dangerous chemicals throughout the process," said OSHA Area Director Richard Gilgrist. "It is also critical that employees are thoroughly trained and familiar with these processes." Veolia has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, OSHA's role is to promote safe and healthful working conditions for America's men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, outreach and education. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.