Explosion, Fire Hazards Carry $182,000 Fine for Rubber Manufacturer

The serious violations include failing to maintain the structural integrity of pipe hangers and pipe support rods and report a leak in a critical 4-inch valve at the ammonia storage tank.

OSHA has cited Baton Rouge, La.-based Lion Copolymer LLC for one willful, 19 serious, and three other-than-serious violations for exposing workers to possible fires, explosions, and other hazardous conditions. Proposed penalties total $182,000.

OSHA's Baton Rouge Area Office began its inspection Oct. 13, 2010, at the company's facility as the result of a referral. The inspection was expanded as part of the agency's National Emphasis Program on Chemical Process Safety Management. The NEP emphasizes the management of highly hazardous chemicals and establishes a comprehensive management program that integrates technologies, procedures and management practices.

The willful violation was cited for failing to conduct adequate maintenance and inspections of critical valves.

The serious violations include failing to maintain the structural integrity of pipe hangers and pipe support rods; ensure ammonia piping was thoroughly labeled as to its content; ensure operating procedures for the ammonia refrigeration system were certified by management in a timely manner; conduct visual inspections of process piping within the scheduled inspection frequency; ensure that employees in process and administrative buildings were located in the prescribed distance from a possible explosion zone; and report a leak in a critical 4-inch valve at the ammonia storage tank.

The other-than-serious violations were cited for failing to maintain and complete OSHA's injury and illness logs.

Lion Copolymer, a synthetic rubber manufacturer, employs about 122 workers at its Baton Rouge facility.

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