Process Safety Mgt. Fine for CT Plant

Friday, December 13, 2013 @ 04:12 PM gHale

The Gilman Brothers Co. is facing $105,490 in fines for willful, repeat and serious safety violations at the company’s facility in Gilman, CT, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The first inspection, begun on May 31, identified several deficiencies in the plant’s process safety management program involving the chemical isopentane, a flammable liquid used in the manufacturing process. Gilman Brothers is a manufacturer of polystyrene foam core board.

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“OSHA’s process safety management standard is for employers to address hazardous conditions associated with a process to prevent a catastrophic incident,” said Warren Simpson, OSHA’s area director in Hartford. “Full and effective adherence to the standard’s requirements is critical to guarding the safety and health of workers at this work site.”

OSHA found the company did not inspect or test process equipment, including the isopentane tank, piping and pressure relief valves. This resulted in the issuance of one willful citation, with a $53,900 fine. 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.

One repeat citation, with a fine of $10,780, was for a lack of written procedures to maintain the ongoing integrity of process equipment. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously faced citations for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. The company received a similar citation in 2009.

Six serious citations, with $26,180 in fines, were for incomplete process safety information, hazard analyses and documentation, and for lack of readily available fire extinguishers and fire extinguisher training. 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 second inspection opened Sept. 4 following an incident in which a forklift operator struck and injured a pedestrian in a company warehouse. The company failed to ensure forklift operators look in the direction of travel, maintain a clear view of the travel path and slow down and sound their horns at cross aisles. Forklifts did not get proper marking to identify attachments and their lifting capacity and workers did not look for defects after each shift. Additionally, aisles and passageways were not clear and in good repair. These conditions resulted in four serious citations with $14,630 in fines.

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