Chlorine Release at Plant Leads to Chemical Hazards Charges

OSHA has cited Infineum USA L.P. for 22 workplace safety violations, including exposing employees to chemical hazards, at the company's facility in Linden, N.J. Proposed penalties total $88,500.

The agency initiated its inspection on Nov. 24, 2009, in response to a complaint related to a chlorine release at the facility. As a result of the inspection, the company has received citations for violations related to a deficient process safety management system. Among the hazards observed by OSHA inspectors was Infineum's failure to establish and implement written procedures required to manage any changes to technology, facilities, equipment, and procedures that can potentially impact a chemical process.

"Chlorine is a highly hazardous chemical that can have a severe impact on employees' safety and health," said Patricia Jones, director of OSHA's area office in Avenel, N.J. "All aspects of the OSHA process safety management standard must be followed by employers in order to ensure that workers go home safe at the end of the day."

The PSM is intended to prevent or minimize the consequences of a catastrophic release of toxic, reactive, flammable, or explosive chemicals from a process. A process is any activity or combination of activities including any use, storage, manufacturing, handling, or the on-site movement of highly hazardous chemicals.

Infineum manufactures petroleum additives and has 262 employees at the Linden site. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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