Chemical Hazards at CT Manufacturer

Wednesday, January 15, 2014 @ 04:01 PM gHale

Specialty coatings and polymer manufacturer StanChem Inc. is facing $55,300 in fines for 13 serious violations of workplace safety standards at its East Berlin, CT, plant, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Under OSHA’s process safety management standard, employers must develop, implement and update process safety management programs with regards to hazardous chemicals at their facilities.

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OSHA’s inspection of StanChem found several deficiencies in the plant’s process safety management program to identify, address and eliminate hazards associated with processes using, storing, manufacturing, handling or moving of large amounts of highly hazardous chemicals onsite. In this case, the hazardous chemical is the flammable liquid, vinyl acetate, which the company uses in large amounts at its plant.

“The requirements of OSHA’s process safety management standards are stringent and comprehensive because failure to effectively implement a process safety management program can lead to a catastrophic incident,” said Warren Simpson, OSHA’s area director in Hartford. “The safety and well-being of the plant’s employees are dependent on the employer effectively addressing all conditions, equipment and procedures involved in the polymer manufacturing process.”

Specifically, OSHA found 13 serious violations because the company: Lacked complete information about process equipment; failed to determine and document the equipment met good engineering practices; lacked written procedures to manage changes to the process; had incomplete or outdated process hazard analyses; did not resolve process hazard analysis recommendations in a timely manner; failed to promptly address and resolve findings from a 2012 incident report; did not conduct a compliance audit of the process every three years and did not document correction of deficiencies cited in an earlier compliance 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.



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