Safety Fines at Gas Facility

Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 01:04 PM gHale

Seven different companies are facing $96,300 in fines for five incidents involving chemical releases at a natural gas facility over a three-day period that left workers injured, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Formosa Plastics Corp. Texas; Infinity Maintenance; Maxim Crane Works; APRM Inc., doing business as, Plant Maintenance Services; Clark Constructors LLC, Process Service Specialist, and Turner Industrial Group are all facing the OSHA violations at the Point Comfort, TX, site.

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Safety Violations at TX Gas Facility: OSHA

OSHA began investigating the natural gas processing facility in October after the facility experienced five incidents involving potential chemical releases in three days, resulting in worker injuries.

OSHA proposed $50,000 in penalties for Formosa Plastics Corp. for eight safety and health violations, including:
• Not having adequate permits or conducting preventative maintenance
• Improper maintenance of equipment contributed to the release of sulfuric acid and chlorine
• Not providing face shields to workers who removed sulfuric acid from storage tanks
• Not requiring employees to wear respiratory protection when exposed to a chlorine vapor cloud

Infinity Maintenance and Maxim Crane Works ended up cited for one serious violation for not providing adequate training to the workers who sustained chemical burns from sulfuric acid. Each violation carries a $7,000 proposed penalty. Infinity Maintenance also received a citation for not keeping accurate OSHA 300 recordkeeping forms, with a penalty of $5,000.

APRM Inc. , Clark Constructors LLC, Process Service Specialist and Turner Industrial Group each ended up cited for one serious safety violation for exposing employees to a hydrochloric vapor cloud without providing adequate training on the possible hazards they could encounter. Combined proposed penalties total $27,300.

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.

“Inhaling corrosive chemicals such as hydrochloric acid and chlorine can cause serious, even deadly, injuries,” said Michael Rivera, OSHA’s area director in Corpus Christi. “To send workers into that environment without personal protective equipment or proper training is unacceptable.”

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