Chemical Hazards at Polymer Plant

Thursday, February 13, 2014 @ 08:02 AM gHale


Marietta, Ohio-based Solvay Specialty Polymers faces $77,000 in fines for 12 violations of exposing workers to chemical hazards from solvents, according to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials.

The inspection was in response to a referral from the National Response Center after an incident involving a methyl chloride release at the plant on July 18. The plant produces polymer pellets used in the production of plumbing, electrical connectors, medical devices and fuel filters.

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The plant received one repeat violation for failing to follow recognized good engineering practices. Another citation included failure to resolve data for storage tanks after changes in measurements of previous readings.

The plant received eleven serious violations — all related to OSHA’s Process Safety Management Standard. The citations included violations of process safety information, process hazard analysis, and mechanical integrity. Employee exposure to methyl chloride and monochlorobenzene were among the violations. When inhaled, the two chemicals can cause damage to the central nervous system.

All equipment and processes need to receive the proper evaluation and scrutiny before the use of highly hazardous chemicals, and workers should receive training to handle them safely, said Deborah Zubaty, OSHA’s area director in Columbus.

Process safety management programs help prevent release of highly hazardous chemicals.

These programs encompass a detailed set of requirements and procedures employers must follow to proactively address hazards associated with processes and equipment that use threshold quantities of hazardous chemicals. OSHA’s standards contain specific requirements for the management of hazards associated with processes using dangerous chemicals.

Solvay Specialty Polymers USA LLC has 270 employees at the Marietta facility and 2,945 employees nationwide under the Solvay Group. Solvay Specialty has headquarters in Bollate, Italy.



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