$122K Fine Issued to Firm for Exposing Workers to Bromine Hazards

OSHA's Little Rock Area Office initiated an inspection in December under the agency's Process Safety Management Covered Chemical Facilities National Emphasis Program.

OSHA has cited West Lafayette, Ind.-based Great Lakes Chemical Corp. with 18 serious safety violations at the company's El Dorado, Ark., facility for exposing workers to the unexpected release of bromine. OSHA's Little Rock Area Office initiated an inspection in December under the agency's Process Safety Management Covered Chemical Facilities National Emphasis Program, which is designed to reduce or eliminate workplace hazards associated with the catastrophic release of highly hazardous chemicals. Proposed penalties total $122,000.

Process safety management standard violations include the company's failing to ensure that its process hazard analysis addresses hazards involved with valves being closed or blocked, develop procedures to ensure that levels are correctly established for pressure vessels and piping, and ensure that the compliance audit addresses procedures to assess the mechanical integrity of pressure vessels and piping. Additionally, the company failed to ensure that ladder-way platform openings were guarded by standard railings.

"By failing to ensure that safeguards are in place, Great Lakes Chemical puts its workers at risk of exposure to bromine, a highly hazardous chemical that can cause severe burns to the eyes, nose, throat, and respiratory system," said Carlos Reynolds, OSHA's area director in Little Rock. "Process safety management procedures must be followed to prevent the unexpected release of toxic, reactive or flammable liquids and gases in processes involving highly hazardous chemicals."

Great Lakes Chemical manufactures bromine furfural specialty chemicals and alkyl leads. The company employs about 4,000 workers nationwide, with about 270 at its facility in El Dorado on Haynesville Highway.

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