Flammable Vapors Bring Safety Woes

Monday, September 24, 2012 @ 04:09 PM gHale

Yenkin Majestic Paint Corp. is facing $138,600 in fines for 26 safety and health violations after a cloud containing flammable vapors released from the company’s Columbus, OH, facility, which operates as OPC Polymers, on March 21, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials said.

OSHA initiated an inspection under its national emphasis program on process safety management for covered chemical facilities. OPC Polymers employs 190 people at the facility.

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The vapor cloud started from a copolymer reaction of flammable chemicals when over-pressurization occurred in the equipment. No one suffered any injuries.

“Employers must provide safe working conditions, especially for employees who work with highly hazardous chemicals,” said Deborah Zubaty, OSHA’s area director in Columbus. “It is clear that OPC Polymers failed to create safety procedures, and did not train and review procedures with employees to ensure their effectiveness.”

Twenty-five serious safety violations relate to process safety management, including incomplete process safety information lacking maximum intended inventories, materials of construction, and accurate piping and instrument diagrams or design codes and standards.

Violations specific to process hazard analyses include failing to address hazards of the process consequences to engineering and administrative control failures. Additionally, the violations include failing to implement written operation procedures and review and certify them annually, train workers on procedures, establish and implement written mechanical integrity and management of change procedures, conduct a compliance audit at least every three years and respond to deficiencies found in compliance audits.

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.

One other-than-serious violation is failing to certify the completion of a personal protective equipment hazard assessment. 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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