Workers Cleaning Chemical Spill Lacked Training

OSHA also found that workers weren't outfitted with the proper personal protective equipment to do the cleanup.

Workers cleaning a chemical spill at Penda Corp. in Portage, Wis., had not been trained in proper cleanup procedures or provided proper personal protective equipment, according to a report from OSHA. OSHA found that workers experienced symptoms of overexposure to an isocyanates chemical used in plastics manufacturing that can cause occupational asthma and other lung problems, as well as irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and skin. Seven serious violations were cited.

"An employer who works with hazardous chemicals has a responsibility to train workers in proper chemical handling and how to respond to spills and other emergencies," said Kim Stille, OSHA's area director in Madison. "Common safety precautions, including protective clothing and respirators, prevent injuries and illnesses and must be part of the daily routine of workers in such manufacturing environments."

OSHA cited the company for seven serious violations for lack of a hazardous materials spill response plan and failure to train workers on how to respond to spills. Additionally, required PPE, such as gloves and respirators, was not provided.

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