OSHA has cited Acetylene Service Company, Perth Amboy, N.J, for alleged safety and health violations after a January explosion killed three workers. Proposed penalties total $237,600.

The company is a subsidiary of Acetylene Supply Company, Inc., headquartered in Woodbridge, N.J. The Perth Amboy site employs 15 workers to fill, re-qualify and recondition acetylene cylinders.

OSHA, which initiated its investigation Jan. 25 in response to a report from Perth Amboy police, cited the company for three willful violations with $126,000 in proposed penalties and 37 serious violations with $111,600 in proposed penalties.

The willful citations were issued for failure to:

  • update process hazard analysis;
  • perform inspections and tests on covered processes to maintain mechanical integrity; and
  • maintain required documentation about inspections and testing of equipment.

Serious violations included failure to:

  • design, construct and test the acetylene system;
  • assure safe, sealed storage of gasoline;
  • provide proper storage of flammable gases and liquids; and
  • provide safe storage and use of a portable propane heater inside the production building.

Serious citations also were issued for inadequate inspection and servicing of fire extinguishers; lack of clear space around a paint spray booth and proper ventilation during mixing of flammable paints; failing to address human factors that create worksite hazards; not conducting all appropriate testing before workers enter a permit-required confined space; failing to identify specific equipment covered in the lockout/tagout program; and lack of hazard communication training.

The company has 15 working days to contest the citations.