OSHA Says Waste Incineration Facility Exposed Worker to Toxic Chemicals
Heritage Thermal Services is a hazardous waste incinerator facility in East Liverpool. The facility was cited by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) late last month. OSHA began its investigation last year when a 56-year-old technician ended up in the hospital due to having been exposed to the toxic chemical, aniline.
Aniline is an industrial chemical, also known as aminobenzene and phenylamine, is a very toxic carcinogen that can cause headaches, weakness, unconsciousness, skin lesions, respiratory problems and cancer.
Why Did OSHA Cite Heritage Thermal Services?
According to OSHA’s report, the technician of 20 years was pumping hazardous wastes from drums to an outdoor kiln to be incinerated when he collapsed. The technician was not wearing protective clothing or provided with respiratory gear or ventilation.
Specifically, OSHA cited the waste incineration plant for failure to monitor employee workspaces and failure to assess whether the respirators are working correctly. Heritage Thermal Services also did not provide a proper decontamination procedure. Nor did it provide protective gear and regulate whether it was being used properly.
This is not the first run in with OSHA that Heritage Thermal Services has had. In 2012, three employees became lightheaded and fainted while working with aniline. They were taken to a hospital and held overnight for observation. However, they returned to work promptly afterward. In December of 2011, hazardous substances in a barrel chemically reacted and caused two explosions and a flash fire. Two men were burned and an employee of five years died during the accident.
Out of the recently issued OSHA violation citations, four were repeat violations.
Heritage Thermal Services Needs to Better Protect Its Workers
This Ohio-based incineration plant needs to be held responsible for its lack of safety regulations. Given that it is a chemical waste facility, extra care needs to be given to training workers and maintaining safety equipment. Repeat violations from OSHA are inexcusable.
Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC is a personal injury law firm that helps victims of toxic chemical exposure and other workplace injuries.