Houston Chemical Company Agrees to Add Safety to the Mix

Syntech Chemicals Inc. agreed to pay $106,000 in penalties for its failure to implement safety standards to protect its employees against hazardous chemicals. The company also agreed to develop a process safety management program.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration's (OSHA) Houston south area office began its investigation Jan. 30 at the company's Houston facility where a fire occurred from over-pressurization in the steam jacket of an oil-containing reactor. Most of the company's process facility was destroyed. Fortunately, there were no fatalities or injuries.

The company was cited with 10 safety and health violations for failing to implement elements of the Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals. Syntech Chemicals produces chemical coatings and other specialty chemicals and employs about 12 workers.

In addition to agreeing to pay the penalties, Syntech Chemicals has engaged the services of an engineering firm and a safety management firm to help it develop and implement systems and procedures to protect its employees.

"It is encouraging to see a small chemical company like Syntech take the steps it needs to not only meet OSHA standards, but to make significant improvements in their overall safety and health program," said Raymond Skinner, area director of OSHA's Houston south area office

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