IHOP in Frying Pan after 9 Workers are Sickened by Chemical Exposure

OSHA opened an inspection in February after nine employees were sent to the hospital as the result of being exposed to chlorine gas, which occurred when incompatible chemicals were mixed together.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Country Road 3054 Inc., doing business as IHOP Restaurants, for five alleged serious safety and health violations at its South Charleston, W.Va., establishment. OSHA opened an inspection in February after nine employees were sent to the hospital as the result of being exposed to chlorine gas, which occurred when incompatible chemicals were mixed together. Proposed penalties total $25,000.

OSHA cited the company for hazards involving chemical exposure including the failure to conduct a personal protective equipment hazard assessment; develop and implement a hazard communication program; and provide required training, eye protection, eye wash facilities, and material safety data sheets for chemicals used in the workplace.

"Because chemicals have the ability to react when exposed to other chemicals or certain physical conditions, it is vital that employers take the appropriate steps to protect workers from all related hazards," said Prentice Cline, director of OSHA's Charleston Area Office. "OSHA's standards, when followed, offer these necessary safeguards."

Seventy-four workers are employed at the South Charleston IHOP.

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