Phoenix Products, a company that manufactures swimming pool chemicals and acetone preparations used in nail polish, is facing a $61,600 fine for serious workplace safety violations.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said this week that inspectors visiting its Terryville, Connecticut, plant found that employees were exposed to chemical, fire and exit access hazards and the plant lacked a process safety management program.
The company’s manufacturing processes use large amounts of the flammable chemicals acetone and isopropyl alcohol 99 percent. Federal standards require facilities to have a program for safely managing processes involving large amounts of these chemicals, OSHA explained.
Alleged deficiencies included:
- Not conducting a hazard analysis
- Having no written operating procedures for each step of the process
- Not compiling information about process equipment
- Not inspecting and testing process equipment
- Not documenting employee trainingLacking an emergency action program
Inspectors also cited additional chemical and fire hazards involving a locked emergency exit gate, an exit route through a hazardous area, rusted exit stairs, lack of overflow protection for storage tanks, deficient vent piping and not documenting that storage tanks had been strength tested.
“Work involving large amounts of highly hazardous chemicals requires that the employer analyze, document and provide safeguards to prevent the possibility of an explosion or uncontrolled release of these chemicals,” said Warren Simpson, OSHA’s area director in Hartford. “The deficient safeguards at this plant increase employees’ risk of sustaining serious, even life-threatening burns. Phoenix Products needs to effectively and expeditiously correct these deficiencies to minimize and prevent a catastrophic incident.”
The company was given 15 business days to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.