IVEX Protective Packaging Inc. has been cited by OSHA with 21 safety violations carrying fines of $128,700. OSHA's January inspection followed an explosion that resulted in the injury of three workers and significant property damage at the Sidney, Ohio polyethylene foam product manufacturing facility.
The explosion occurred when isobutane gas entered exhaust ductwork associated with the foam extrusion manufacturing process, and was ignited by the regenerative thermal oxidizer.
When OSHA inspected the facility, it found multiple alleged violations of federal safety and health standards for process safety management of highly hazardous chemicals.
“By disregarding OSHA’s standards for developing safety procedures and training workers on the consequence of a lack of engineering controls or deviation from operating limits, this employer endangered its workers,” said Kim Nelson, OSHA’s area director in Toledo. “OSHA is committed to protecting workers on the job, especially those exposed to hazardous materials, and educating employers about safety and health regulations.”
Seventeen alleged serious violations related to Process Safety Management include failing to address fire and explosion hazards within ventilation ducting, process equipment and pressure vessels through accurate process safety information, This includes documentation showing that all covered equipment complies with generally accepted engineering practices and has a completed process hazard analysis. The company also allegedly failed to have detailed operating procedures, provide operator and maintenance technician training and develop an inspection and testing program.
The company's four additional alleged serious violations include a lack of machine guarding, failing to document specific hazardous energy control procedures, not applying lockout devices to machinery during servicing, failing to shut down machinery prior to servicing and not providing flame-retardant clothing for workers exposed to fire/explosion hazards. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
The company employs 47 workers at its Sidney facility and approximately 192 worldwide. Headquartered in Lachine, Quebec, Canada, the company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and notice of proposed penalties to meet with Nelson or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. If the company does not file or contest within that period, it must abate the cited conditions within the period ordered in the citations and pay the proposed penalties.