A chemical manufacturer has been handed proposed penalties of nearly $80,000 following an explosion at one of its facilities in May.
US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited MFG Chemical in Dalton, Georgia for 20 safety violations, 19 serious and one other-than-serious.
The citations follow a plant explosion that resulted in the hospitalization of 40 employees of other companies who working in the surrounding area for decontamination.
The May explosion was caused by a runaway reaction from an overheated reactor and OSHA have proposed $77,000 in fines.
MFG Chemical manufactures a range of specialty chemicals for the water treatment, inks, paints and coatings, polymer additives and pulp and paper industries.
During the production of coagulant 129, a compound used in water treatment, an increase in temperature caused the reactor to overpressurize, rupturing the dome cover and blowing a hole in the roof of the facility, said OSHA.
In response to the incident, the watchdog conducted an inspection under the national emphasis program on process safety management for covered chemical facilities.
Nineteen serious violations involve exposing workers to fire and explosion hazards while they performed manufacturing duties, as well as failing to ensure that initial process hazard analyses were conducted.
Other violations included developing emergency response procedures that deal with handling small chemical releases; identify permit-required confined spaces such as reactors, receivers and mixers; ensure confined space permits were issued and documented prior to allowing workers to enter the spaces and establish a preferred way of communicating an emergency evacuation.
One other-than-serious violation is failing to ensure that a material safety data worksheet contained the required information which carries a $700 penalty.
"This inspection has identified a wide range of safety hazards that need to be addressed in order to protect workers," said Andre Richards, director of OSHA's Atlanta-West Area Office.
"It is the employer's responsibility to provide a safe and healthful workplace."