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OSHA cites Arkema for safety violations at Houston facility

July 12, 2012
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HOUSTON — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Prussia, Pa.-based chemical maker Arkema Inc. with 12 serious, one repeat and one other-than-serious violations for exposing workers to multiple safety hazards while producing organic chemicals at the company''s Houston facility.

OSHA''s Houston North Area Office initiated an inspection of the plant in January after receiving an employee complaint, and later expanded the inspection under the agency''s process safety management national emphasis program for preventing or minimizing the catastrophic release of toxic, reactive, flammable or explosive chemicals.

Proposed penalties total $117,100.

The serious violations include failing to compile process safety information on instruments used as safeguards and on relief system design, ensure that recognized and good engineering practices are used, follow recommended process hazard analysis procedures and inspect and test equipment identified as safeguards.

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.

"Process safety management prevents the unexpected release of toxic, reactive or flammable liquids and gases in processes involving highly hazardous chemicals," said David Doucet, director of OSHA''s Houston North Area Office. "It''s vital that Arkema ensure that safeguards are in place to protect the safety of workers at this facility."

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