Chemical Products Corp. Faces OSHA Fines After Worker Suffered Fatal Burns

Chemical Products Corp. Faces OSHA Fines After Worker Suffered Fatal Burns

OSHA proposed $55,403 in penalties to the Cartersville, Georgia-based company.

Chemical Products Corp.—a chemical manufacturer based in Cartersville, Georgia—faces $55,403 in proposed OSHA penalties after a June 2023 incident in which a 52-year-old leach tank operator suffered fatal burns and another worker was seriously injured.

According to a release dated Dec. 1, OSHA’s investigation revealed that the fatal accident occurred when the employee was inspecting a barium sulfide wash cone. He opened an air intake valve to check a noise, unwittingly triggering a reaction with a steam line left open from the previous day. This action caused a rush of cold air in the steam line, creating a bubble that propelled heated sludge onto him, leading to his death due to extensive chemical and thermal burns. A colleague also sustained second-degree burns across their upper body.

In addition, OSHA discovered during the course of its investigation that another employee suffered chemical burns when a tank full of sodium hydroxide solution overflowed just 25 days after this first incident. That incident remains under investigation.

“Our investigation found that Chemical Products Corp.’s failure to make employee safety a priority allowed conditions that cost a worker his life,” OSHA Area Office Director Jeffery Stawowy in Atlanta-West said in a statement. “Two serious incidents just weeks apart show that the culture at Chemical Products Corp. must change to emphasize worker safety and health. OSHA will continue to monitor and hold the company accountable until there are changes.”

OSHA’s findings include five serious violations, including failure to establish and regularly inspect energy control procedures, failure to keep catwalks free of corrosion, inadequately marked emergency exit routes and the absence of easily accessible safety data sheets for hazardous chemicals on site. As a result, OSHA found that workers were open to thermal and chemical, slip and trip, and entrapment hazards in the performance of their duties.

Chemical Products Corp—which has been in operation for 90 years—now has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA or contest its findings.

About the Author

Robert Yaniz Jr. is the Content Editor of Occupational Health & Safety.

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