Safety hazards at an explosives factory earn co. hefty fines
OSHA finds multiple violations of process safety management standards
OSHA has cited Austin Powder Co. with 51 health and safety violations carrying proposed fines of $258,000 for multiple violations of OSHA's standards for process safety management at facilities that use highly hazardous chemicals. The McArthur, Ohio facility produces commercial explosives for the construction and mining industries.
Twenty-three serious violations related to process safety management include failing to correct deficiencies found in compliance audits; failing to have operating procedures address consequences of deviation from operating limits, including steps to avoid or correct deviation from such limits; and not following generally accepted good engineering practices for inspection and testing procedures.
An additional 24 serious violations involve inadequate labeling of hazardous chemical containers, not developing energy control procedures for the maintenance and servicing of equipment, lack of machine guarding and fall protection, as well as violations of electrical safety standards.
Four other-than-serious violations involve failing to identify the worker who applied a lockout device, not effectively closing unused openings in electrical cabinets and boxes and not including the properties and hazards presented by process chemicals in written operating procedures.
The company was inspected under OSHA’s Site Specific Targeting Plan -- which targets companies that record a higher than average incident and illness rate – and under the agency’s national emphasis program for covered chemical facilities.
The facility was also inspected in 2009 after an explosion that resulted in three workers hospitalized, one of whom died from injuries received. Five serious citations were issued. A 2010 follow-up inspection found no violations.
The current citations may be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Austin_Powder_Company_782861_0606_13.pdf* http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Austin_Powder_Company_783282_0606_13.pdf*.
Headquartered in Cleveland, Austin Power Co. employs 225 workers at the McArthur facility, and also operates facilities in Camden, Ark., Brownsville, Texas, and Valle Hermosa, Mexico.