According to OSHA area director Gary Roskoski, the action results from an investigation conducted from August 17, 1999 to February 17, 2000 at a federal government supply warehouse in Burlington, New Jersey. OSHA compliance officers went to the warehouse after receiving reports from news media of a chemical spill. Their investigation disclosed that a quantity of about 1800 pounds of calcium hypochlorite powder, used to chlorinate swimming pools, was spilled on the warehouse floor. Cleanup activities led to 27 employees' being treated for chlorine exposure at a local hospital.
OSHA alleges that the agency willfully violated OSHA's emergency response standard by failing to develop and implement an emergency response plan and to train employees required to assist in containment and clean-up. Another willful violation was alleged for failing to conduct an employee exposure assessment or provide respirators and chemical safety goggles. If the employer were in the private sector, the violations would carry a penalty of $110,000.
The warehouse was also cited for storing materials with incompatible flammable material, an alleged serious violation which would carry a $2,500 penalty in the private sector.