Chemical Releases Spur Investigation, Lead to $44,000 in Penalties

OSHA has cited ICL Supresta Inc. for alleged workplace safety and health violations, proposing $44,000 in penalties. The industrial chemical company has 126 employees at its Gallipolis Ferry, W. Va., site. OSHA initiated an investigation on Jan. 7, 2009, after being notified of two chemical releases that occurred on the same day at the facility. As a result of the investigation, OSHA issued citations for seven serious violations with a penalty of $34,000, one repeat violation with a penalty of $10,000, and one other-than-serious violation, which carried no penalty.

"We encourage ICL Supresta to take immediate action to eliminate each identified hazard to prevent another release that could have farther-reaching consequences," said Jeff Funke, director of OSHA's Charleston Area Office.

The serious violations include the company's failure to ensure that operating procedures covering safety and health considerations addressed special or unique hazards of the process, to conduct adequate inspections on process equipment, to ensure that proper respiratory protection and personal protective equipment were utilized during an emergency response, to adequately train first responders to an incident, to ensure proper fit testing for employees using respiratory protection, and to properly review and critique incident responses.

The repeat violation is due to the company's failure to complete action items identified during a process hazard analysis. A repeat citation is issued when a substantially similar violation is found at any of an employer's facilities in federal enforcement states within three years of a previous citation.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director in Charleston, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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