PSM Enforcement Case Carries $67,000 in Penalties

OSHA announced its Baton Rouge Area Office conducted the investigation that resulted in 11 violations assessed against Westlake Vinyls Co. LP of Geismar, La.

OSHA announced it has cited Westlake Vinyls Co. LP in Geismar, La. for 10 alleged serious and one alleged other-than-serious safety and health violations, mostly related to the process safety management standards. The proposed penalties total $67,000.

"This company exposed its employees to avoidable workplace hazards that can cause serious injury and possible death. OSHA's safety and health standards must be followed to prevent accidents and illnesses," said Jack Turner, OSHA's area acting director in Baton Rouge. The Baton Rouge Area Office conducted the inspection under the agency's national emphasis program on process safety management for covered chemical facilities.

According to the agency's news release, Westlake Vinyls produces vinyl chloride monomer and polyvinyl chloride and is a subsidiary of Houston-based Westlake Chemical Corp. The release said OSHA inspectors found employees were exposed to the potential of over-pressurized process equipment while conducting operations at the plant. The 10 serious violations include failing to provide accurate process safety information for piping and instrument diagrams, use the appropriate detection methodologies in the process hazard analysis and properly complete emergency shutdown procedures, repair or maintain pressure-relieving devices, and conduct management of change while maintaining process equipment. The other-than-serious violation concerned not having the design codes for safety interlock systems used on process equipment, according to the release.

For more information about PSM, visit http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/processsafetymanagement/index.html.

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