The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Beck Aluminum Alloys Ltd. for more than 10 safety violations over improperly handled liquid chlorine.
Chlorine is transported as a liquid, but it is used industrially as a poisonous gas. If workers inhale the dangerous chemical, they can experience blurred vision, coughing and a burning sensation in the eyes, nose and throat. Chlorine can also cause painful skin blisters and skin injuries similar to frostbite.
How Does OSHA Regulate Hazardous Chemicals?
OSHA classifies chlorine as an extremely hazardous chemical, meaning its use is governed by OSHA’s Process Safety Management Standards. These regulations detail specific safety requirements for handling hazardous chemicals in the workplace.
Beck’s violated OSHA’s Process Safety Management Standards when it failed to develop a written procedure for minimizing worker exposure. The facility also had no written plans for potential emergencies, like leaks, fires or power outages.
Why Are Written Plans Important?
Documented and consistent plans help make sure that all employees have access to the same information. Emergency procedures can save lives in case of a crisis, especially when hazardous chemicals are involved.
The facility also violated OSHA regulations for testing and evaluating piping used to transfer chlorine. Chlorine gas is toxic, so leaks can be lethal. Without the right safeguards and emergency procedures, workers’ can be severely injured and possibly killed.
When companies cut corners, no one wins. Companies lose thousands on workers’ comp costs, lost productivity and OSHA violations by choosing to risk workers’ lives.
I Was Injured on the Job! What Are My Legal Options?
Employers should take the lead on safety, but workers are often forced to stand up and demand change. For more information on your legal rights as a worker, follow Larrimer & Larrimer on Facebook
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[Did You Know:
Chlorine was used during World War I as a choking (pulmonary) agent.]
Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC
—Columbus Workers Comp Attorneys