OSHAA New Jersey chemical company failed to ensure that its workers were not overexposed to formaldehyde, resulting in some of the 14 health and safety violations lodged against it recently by OSHA. Proposed penalties total $82,500.

The agency says Cardolite Corp. did not comply with process safety management requirements, thus exposing its employees to chemical and other hazards at the company's Newark facility. OSHA initiated an investigation in response to a complaint and also as part of the agency's national emphasis program on process safety management for covered chemical facilities.

Process safety management

"Process safety management prevents or mitigates a catastrophic release of toxic, reactive or flammable liquids and gases in chemical processes," said Kris Hoffman, director of OSHA's Parsippany Area Office. "By not complying with PSM requirements, Cardolite jeopardized the safety of its chemical operators and others working at the site by exposing them to dangerous fire hazards."

The willful violation is failing to monitor employees' formaldehyde exposure at six-month intervals. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health. The citation carries a $44,000 penalty.

Safety and health violations

The violations include failing to implement effective engineering controls and work practices to reduce formaldehyde exposure, provide medical surveillance to workers overexposed to formaldehyde, ensure that process safety information is accurate and in place, provide a hazard analysis of the facility in the event of a chemical release and its impact, provide refresher training to chemical operators on the epichlorohydrin process, inspect and test epichlorohydrin piping within the process building, and identify deficiencies in process safety management compliance audits.

Cardolite Corp., which employs about 70 workers at its Newark location, develops and manufactures products based on cashew nutshell liquid for the coating, friction material and adhesive markets.