Biofuel Firm Hit with Safety Fine

Tuesday, May 1, 2012 @ 10:05 AM gHale

Midwest Biofuel LLC is facing fines of $46,200 for 15 safety and health violations, including a repeat violation for failing to provide an eye wash station, said Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials.

A complaint prompted an Oct. 26 inspection at the organic chemical manufacturer’s facility in Clinton, WI.

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“Midwest Biofuel has a responsibility to provide training and safety equipment such as respirators to workers in a manufacturing environment,” said Kim Stille, director of OSHA’s Madison office. “Repeat violations demonstrate a lack of commitment to worker safety and health.”

OSHA issues repeat violations if an employer previously faced the same or a similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states with the last five years. The company had a similar violation involving failure to provide an eye wash station in 2007, among 18 violations.

The company received 12 serious violations for failing to use proper electrical equipment in the control room; correct deficiencies of its hazard analysis and operating procedures; investigate chemical releases; train workers engaged in chemical hazard clean-up operations; provide material safety data sheets for process chemicals; develop, implement and train workers on the permit required confined space program; evaluate fork lift operators; develop and implement a respiratory protection program, including fit testing; and provide medical evaluations for workers required to wear respirators. 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.

In addition, the company received two other-than-serious violations for failing to record injuries and illnesses on the OSHA 300 log and post floor loading limits on a mezzanine used for storage. 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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