Today's News / Compliance

Unexpected bromine release endangers workers

Chemical can cause severe burns to nose, throat,respiratory system

June 14, 2012
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OSHAOSHA has cited West Lafayette, Ind.-based Great Lakes Chemical Corp. with 18 serious safety violations at the company's El Dorado facility for exposing workers to the unexpected release of bromine. OSHA's Little Rock Area Office initiated an inspection in December under the agency's Process Safety Management Covered Chemical Facilities National Emphasis Program, which is designed to reduce or eliminate workplace hazards associated with the catastrophic release of highly hazardous chemicals. Proposed penalties total $122,000.

Process safety management standard violations include the company's failing to ensure that its process hazard analysis addresses hazards involved with valves being closed or blocked; develop procedures to ensure that levels are correctly established for pressure vessels and piping; and ensure that the compliance audit addresses procedures to assess the mechanical integrity of pressure vessels and piping. Additionally, the company failed to ensure that ladder-way platform openings were guarded by standard railings.

"By failing to ensure that safeguards are in place, Great Lakes Chemical puts its workers at risk of exposure to bromine, a highly hazardous chemical that can cause severe burns to the eyes, nose, throat and respiratory system," said Carlos Reynolds, OSHA's area director in Little Rock. "Process safety management procedures must be followed to prevent the unexpected release of toxic, reactive or flammable liquids and gases in processes involving highly hazardous chemicals."

The citations can be viewed at www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/GreatLakesChemical_315973859_0607_12.pdf*.

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