National Emphasis Program Targets Chemical Company

National Emphasis Program targets Belgian Chemical Plant with 11 violations.OSHA’s National Emphasis Program triggered an August 1, 2016 inspection by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. It issued a total of eleven safety violations to Solvay Specialty Polymers LLC, a Beligum-based chemical company. The inspection which yielded these violations was conducted at a North American chemical facility, located in West Deptford, New Jersey. Of the eleven violations, eight were categorized under as serious, while the remaining three hazards were repeat violations.

As part of OSHA’s national emphasis program for chemical facilities, a directive enacted in 2011, with the purpose of decreasing the likelihood of catastrophic release of highly hazardous chemicals (HHCs) in facilities above a specific threshold quantity, OSHA inspected the company on Feb. 6, 2016. In the findings, multiple violations of process regulation were found, including a lack of defined written procedure for equipment maintenance.

The serious violations issued by OSHA, included:

  • Incomplete process safety-information for equipment
  • Failure to review operating procedures in compliance with current operating practice
  • Failure to inspect and/or test the process equipment

Failure to maintain established procedure, regarding changes to chemical processes, technology, equipment, and/or facilities.

  • Failure to respond properly to a compliance audit

Paula Dixon-Roderick, director of OSHA’s Marlton Area Office, said, “Our inspectors focused on vinylidene fluoride, a liquefied flammable gas manufactured and used at Solvay Specialty Polymers’ chemical facility. This gas poses serious safety and health risks to this company’s employees, including fire and explosion hazards, frostbite, skin and lung irritation, and liver damage associated with chronic exposures. An effective process safety management program is needed to protect workers and prevent the catastrophic release of highly hazardous chemicals.”

The proposed penalty for these violations is $115,000.

Several resources can be utilized by employers in the chemical workplace to ensure safety for those employees who work in the environment and compliance with OSHA safety regulation. An approved mock-inspection can be a useful tool for the employer who seeks to avoid any potential safety hazard and subsequent citation.