Steam Plant Fined After Worker Burned

OSHA has cited Concord Steam Corp. for 73 alleged willful, serious, and other-than-serious violations of safety standards after a worker at its steam generating plant in Concord, N.H., was burned in a Jan. 22 fire that occurred when pressurized oil ignited after leaking from a boiler. The company faces a total of $104,200 in proposed fines.

The agency's inspection found that the boiler's doors were bulging and cracked and not properly secured against the escape of embers and fire. This situation posed a fire and explosion hazard n that escaping embers and flames could ignite combustible materials in the plant and did later ignite a smoldering fire in a pile of accumulated wood dust, OSHA said. The agency also identified a variety of chemical, electrical, mechanical, asbestos, and other fire-related hazards in the plant.

"The conditions found in this plant expose its employees to the risks of fire, explosion, lacerations, crushing injuries, falls, hazardous chemicals, electrocution, suffocation, lung disease, and being unable to promptly exit the plant in a fire or other emergency," said Rosemarie Ohar, OSHA's area director in Concord. "They must be fully and effectively corrected for the safety and health of the workers."

Cited conditions include obstructed or unmarked exit access; lack of an alarm system or emergency action plan; inadequately trained and equipped fire brigade; uninspected fire extinguishers; fall hazards; lack of personal protective equipment; deficiencies in the plant's confined space, respirator, and lockout/tagout programs; untrained fork truck operators; inadequate chemical hazard communication; numerous instances of unguarded machinery and various electrical hazards; accumulations of asbestos-containing or potentially asbestos-containing waste and debris; and failure to survey the work area for asbestos, inform employees of its presence, provide asbestos awareness training, and properly clean up asbestos.

OSHA issued the company one willful citation, with a $22,000 fine for the asbestos accumulation and 65 serious citations with $79,800 in fines for the remaining items. The plant also has been issued seven other-than-serious citations, with $2,400 in fines, chiefly for inadequate or incomplete injury and illness recording. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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