Death at Chem Plant Brings Fines

Monday, December 31, 2012 @ 03:12 PM gHale


Chemical company AC&S Inc. is facing $42,700 in fines for a dozen serious violations at a plant in West Virginia where a worker died in June, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

OSHA said the worker died while sandlblasting at the plant in Nitro, WV, after investigators discovered the air line for the worker’s air hood was hooked up to a nitrogen gas line.

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The violations include failing to properly label gas systems and failing to provide training on hazardous chemicals.

During the sandblasting, the air line for a supplied air hood ended up connected to a nitrogen gas line and the worker fell unconscious. Nitrogen gas presents several risks, including displacing available oxygen. The serious violations related to the fatality included failing to label nitrogen lines at connection points and not ensuring that breathing air couplings were incompatible with other gas systems.

“ACS has a responsibility to ensure that its workers are safeguarded from workplace hazards and by not properly labeling its gas systems failed to protect a worker who ended up losing his life. That is intolerable,” said Prentice Cline, director of OSHA’s Charleston Area Office.

Other serious violations included failing to provide training on hazardous chemicals, ensure stairways wider than 44 inches have handrails on each side, provide process safety information and process hazard analysis, use approved electrical chain hosts, develop a mechanical integrity program, and document that equipment complied with recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knows about or should have known.



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