$182,000 Proposed Fine for Employer that Exposed Workers to Potential Fires and Explosions

 
Monday, May 9, 2011
 

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Baton Rouge-based Lion Copolymer LLC for one willful, 19 serious and three other-than-serious violations for exposing workers to possible fires, explosions and other hazardous conditions. Proposed penalties total $182,000.

OSHA's Baton Rouge Area Office began its inspection Oct. 13, 2010, at the company's facility on Scenic Highway as the result of a referral. The inspection was expanded as part of the agency's National Emphasis Program on Chemical Process Safety Management. The NEP emphasizes the management of highly hazardous chemicals and establishes a comprehensive management program that integrates technologies, procedures and management practices.

The willful violation was cited for failing to conduct adequate maintenance and inspections of critical valves. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

The serious violations include failing to maintain the structural integrity of pipe hangers and pipe support rods; ensure ammonia piping was thoroughly labeled as to its content; ensure operating procedures for the ammonia refrigeration system were certified by management in a timely manner; conduct visual inspections of process piping within the scheduled inspection frequency; ensure that employees in process and administrative buildings were located in the prescribed distance from a possible explosion zone; and report a leak in a critical 4-inch valve at the ammonia storage tank. 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.

The other-than-serious violations were cited for failing to maintain and complete OSHA's injury and illness logs. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

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