Processing Magazine

Great Lakes Chemical Corp. fined $122,000 for ‘serious safety violations’

June 21, 2012

EL DORADO, Ark. — The U.S. Department of Labor''s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited West Lafayette, Ind.-based Great Lakes Chemical Corp. with 18 serious safety violations at the company''s El Dorado facility for exposing workers to the unexpected release of bromine.

OSHA''s Little Rock Area Office initiated an inspection in December 2011 under the agency''s Process Safety Management Covered Chemical Facilities National Emphasis Program, which is designed to reduce or eliminate workplace hazards associated with the catastrophic release of highly hazardous chemicals. Proposed penalties total $122,000.

Process safety management standard violations include the company''s failing to ensure that its process hazard analysis addresses hazards involved with valves being closed or blocked; develop procedures to ensure that levels are correctly established for pressure vessels and piping; and ensure that the compliance audit addresses procedures to assess the mechanical integrity of pressure vessels and piping. Additionally, the company failed to ensure that ladder-way platform openings were guarded by standard railings. 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.

"By failing to ensure that safeguards are in place, Great Lakes Chemical puts its workers at risk of exposure to bromine, a highly hazardous chemical that can cause severe burns to the eyes, nose, throat and respiratory system," said Carlos Reynolds, OSHA''s area director in Little Rock. "Process safety management procedures must be followed to prevent the unexpected release of toxic, reactive or flammable liquids and gases in processes involving highly hazardous chemicals."