OSHA Proposes More than $46,000 in Fines for Chlorine Gas Leak

OSHA has cited Metalor Technologies for 10 alleged serious violations of safety standards, with $46,500 in fines, following an inspection prompted by a Nov. 7, 2008, chlorine gas leak at the company's North Attleboro, Mass., metals refining plant.

OSHA's inspection found deficiencies in the plant's Process Safety Management (PSM) program, a detailed set of requirements and procedures employers must follow to proactively assess and address hazards associated with processes and equipment that use large amounts of hazardous chemicals. In this case, the process involved the use of chlorine gas to purify precious metals.

"The consequences of a leak or other incident involving large amounts of chlorine can be severe and catastrophic," said Brenda Gordon, OSHA's area director for southeastern Massachusetts. "That's why it is vitally important that each element of the process be rigorously, completely, and continuously scrutinized and adjusted to minimize hazards and enhance the workers' safety and health."

Specifically, the company had not: compiled information on the chemicals, technology, and equipment used in the purifying process; performed an initial process hazard analysis; developed and implemented written procedures covering the process, its ongoing integrity, and any changes to it; audited the process at least once every three years; and obtained and evaluated the safety and health programs of outside contractors working in the plant. The company also failed to post a sign identifying a confined space.

These conditions resulted in the issuance of the 10 serious citations. OSHA issues serious citations when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known. Detailed information about OSHA's PSM standard is available online at www.osha.gov/SLTC/processsafetymanagement/index.html.

Download Center

  • Safety Metrics Guide

    Is your company leveraging its safety data and analytics to maintain a safe workplace? With so much data available, where do you start? This downloadable guide will give you insight on helpful key performance indicators (KPIs) you should track for your safety program.

  • Job Hazard Analysis Guide

    This guide includes details on how to conduct a thorough Job Hazard Analysis, and it's based directly on an OSHA publication for conducting JHAs. Learn how to identify potential hazards associated with each task of a job and set controls to mitigate hazard risks.

  • A Guide to Practicing “New Safety”

    Learn from safety professionals from around the world as they share their perspectives on various “new views” of safety, including Safety Differently, Safety-II, No Safety, Human and Organizational Performance (HOP), Resilience Engineering, and more in this helpful guide.

  • Lone Worker Safety Guide

    As organizations digitalize and remote operations become more commonplace, the number of lone workers is on the rise. These employees are at increased risk for unaddressed workplace accidents or emergencies. This guide was created to help employers better understand common lone worker risks and solutions for lone worker risk mitigation and incident prevention.

  • EHS Software Buyer's Guide

    Learn the keys to staying organized, staying sharp, and staying one step ahead on all things safety. This buyer’s guide is designed for you to use in your search for the safety management solution that best suits your company’s needs.

  • Vector Solutions

Featured Whitepaper

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - May 2022

    May 2022

    Featuring:

    • WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY
      How Wearable Technology is Transforming Safety and the Industrial Workplace
    • TRAINING: CONFINED SPACES
      Five Tips to Improve Safety in Confined Spaces
    • INDUSTRIAL HYGIENE
      Monitor for Asbestos to Help Save Lives
    • PPE: FALL PROTECTION
      Fall Protection Can Be Surprising
    View This Issue