OSHA Fines McArthur, Ohio Explosives Factory $258,000
Austin Powder Co. in McArthur, Ohio has been cited for 51 health and safety violations, which could cost them up to $258,000 in fines. Austin Powder’s McArthur facility produces commercial explosives and was cited for the 51 violations by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for failing to follow OSHA’s standards for process safety management at facilities that use highly hazardous chemicals.
All of the violations were discovered over the course of two OSHA inspections of Austin Powder. The first inspection was initiated as a part of OSHA’s Site Specific Targeting Plan. The Site Specific Targeting Plan is designed to target companies that have a history of recording a higher than average incident and illness rate. The second inspection was initiated as a part of a program for covered chemical facilities known as the National Emphasis Program.
Of Austin Powder’s 51 violations, 47 were serious violations. A serious violation is any violation where there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. Of the 47 serious violations, 23 were related to process safety management, including:
Failing to have operating procedures to address consequences of deviation from operating limits
Failing to correct deficiencies found in compliance audits
The other 24 serious violations involved:
Not developing energy control procedures for the maintenance and servicing of equipment
Inadequate labeling of hazardous chemical containers
Lack of machine guarding and fall protection
Failure to follow electrical safety standards
“By disregarding OSHA’s common-sense standards, this employer endangered the facility’s workers,” Deborah Zubaty, OSHA’s area director in Columbus told the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Public Affairs. “OSHA is committed to protecting workers on the job, especially those exposed to hazardous materials, and educating employers about safety and health regulations.”
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