Fines for Hazardous Chemical Exposure

Monday, January 21, 2013 @ 05:01 PM gHale

Flex-N-Gate Corp., which operates as Guardian West in Urbana, IL, is facing $41,200 in fines for six serious safety violations for failing to protect workers from exposure to hazardous materials and provide adequate emergency response plans and training at the company’s bumper manufacturing plant, said Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials.

The inspection occurred this past July after OSHA received a complaint saying workers suffered from exposure to high levels of hydrochloric acid following a release of the acid during refilling operations.

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“Manufacturers such as Guardian West, which are the subject of repeat complaint inspections, need to demonstrate a commitment to properly training and protecting workers from exposure to hazards,” said Tom Bielema, OSHA’s area director in Peoria.

Three of the violations involve failing to ensure workers used protective equipment when exposed to hazards capable of causing injury and impairment. These included a lack of hand, eye and face protection for workers exposed to liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids.

The remaining violations involve failing to include evacuation routes and procedures in the company’s emergency response and contingency plan and to ensure workers engaged in emergency response involving inhalation hazards had breathing apparatus for respiratory protection and ended up trained on adequate emergency response. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Flex-N-Gate employs more than 12,450 people at 50 manufacturing and nine product development and engineering facilities throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and Spain. The Urbana plant faced previous citations from OSHA in May 2012, which resulted in six serious violations. In December 2010, the inspection resulted in two serious violations.

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