Monday, December 31, 2012

OSHA cites chemical manufacturer following worker fatality

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited AC&S Inc. with 12 serious violations at the chemical manufacturer's Nitro facility following the death of a worker.

During sandblasting activities, the air line for a supplied air hood was hooked up to a nitrogen gas line and the worker became unconscious. Nitrogen gas presents several risks, including displacing available oxygen. The serious violations related to the fatality included failing to label nitrogen lines at connection points and not ensuring that breathing air couplings were incompatible with other gas systems.

"ACS has a responsibility to ensure that its workers are safeguarded from workplace hazards and by not properly labeling its gas systems failed to protect a worker who ended up losing his life. That is intolerable," said Prentice Cline, director of OSHA's Charleston Area Office. "OSHA's standards are designed to prevent this kind of tragic incident."

Other serious violations included failing to provide training on hazardous chemicals, ensure stairways wider than 44 inches have handrails on each side, provide process safety information and process hazard analysis, use approved electrical chain hosts, develop a mechanical integrity program, and document that equipment complied with recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer know or should have known.

Proposed penalties against AC&S Inc. total $42,700.

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