OSHA Cites Haverhill Chemicals in Fatality

The company has been placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program, OSHA announced.

Following the death of an employee at Haverhill Chemicals LLC, OSHA has cited the manufacturer for 21 serious and two other-than-serious safety violations, according to a news release. Many of the violations involve OSHA's Process Safety Management standards, which contain specific requirements for managing highly hazardous chemicals used in work. The company has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

An investigation by OSHA found the 61-year-old employee suffered fatal injuries while clearing a blockage on the drain line to a reactor. An expansion joint failed and caused a thermally heated chemical mixture to spew onto the employee. The mixture predominately contained BPA hydrochloric acid, commonly used in the manufacturing of resins, flame retardants, and coatings.

"Haverhill Chemicals has a responsibility to ensure the safety of its workers by ensuring equipment used to carry highly hazardous chemicals is properly installed and maintained," said Nick Walters, OSHA's regional director in Chicago. "A long-term employee, preparing to retire and spend more time with his loved ones, lost his life in a preventable tragedy. A worker who dedicated his life to a job should never lose that life to that job."

The inspection found that plant officials failed to ensure misaligned pipes and expansion joints were repaired properly and adequate safety shields were installed before placing the reactor back in service. The company also failed to develop procedures for normal and emergency shutdown of the BPA reactor; address hazards for expansion joint failure; develop written procedures to maintain equipment used to process chemicals during maintenance; and train workers to install flexible expansion joints and associated equipment properly.

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