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OSHA Enforcement

Gas Manufacturer Repeatedly Exposed Employees to Workplace Hazards

As part of a follow-up inspection, OSHA has fined Welco Acetylene Corp. $57,400 for repeat and failure-to-abate violations.

OSHA initiated an inspection of the acetylene repackaging facility of industrial gas manufacturer Welco Acetylene Corp. in Newark, N.J. on Nov. 21, 2014, as a follow-up to its May 30, 2013, inspection.

As a result, Welco Acetylene Corp. received two failure-to-abate notices for hazards for which the employer had been cited previously: not maintaining process equipment and not adequately addressing the potential impact of a vapor cloud explosion on an occupied temporary trailer.

“Acetylene gas is highly flammable and if released, could cause fire and explosion hazards,” said Kris Hoffman, director of OSHA’s Parsippany Area Office. “The violations found during the follow-up inspection, and the ones the company failed to abate, create a hazardous environment to the employees working at the plant and should be immediately corrected.”

Additionally, OSHA found two repeat violations involving workers performing service on a compressor without placing a device on it to prevent the sudden startup or movement of equipment during service and maintenance, a procedure known as lockout/tagout. The company also did not ensure that the written process safety information included all the necessary information pertaining to the equipment. One serious violation was issued for not conducting management of change reviews as required.

Welco Acetylene Corp. has 15 business days from receipt of citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with Hoffman or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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