$600K Settlement Reached in 2011 Bostik Plant Blast

OSHA cited Bostik in September after a six-month investigation found numerous violations of the agency's process safety management standard.

The U.S. Department of Labor has secured a settlement agreement with Bostik Inc., a Middleton, Mass.-based adhesives manufacturer, to resolve litigation stemming from citations issued by OSHA for safety violations following a March 2011 explosion.

OSHA cited Bostik in September after a six-month investigation found numerous violations of the agency's process safety management standard, which is a detailed set of requirements and procedures that employers must follow to proactively address hazards associated with processes and equipment involving large amounts of hazardous chemicals. In this case, the chemical was acetone, which was used in a PSM standard-covered process known as direct solvation.

According to the settlement, Bostik has taken and continues to take corrective action to address deficiencies in its PSM program and enhance the program's effectiveness, and it also agrees to submit proof of abatement to OSHA. Bostik paid a fine of $600,000 and is no longer using the direct solvation process at the Middleton facility. OSHA originally proposed $917,000 in fines.

"This resolution speeds corrective action that might otherwise have been delayed through lengthy litigation," said Michael Felsen, the Labor Department's regional solicitor in Boston.

"Just as important, the settlement commits Bostik to strengthening its PSM program to prevent the possibility of a similar incident in the future, and to apprise us of its progress in abating the hazards," said Jeffrey A. Erskine, OSHA's area director for northeastern Massachusetts.

The explosion was investigated by OSHA's Andover Area Office, and the case was litigated by the Labor Department's Regional Office of the Solicitor in Boston.

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