An OSHA investigation has determined that Chemical Products Corp. could have prevented a worker from suffering fatal chemical burns earlier this year if the company had followed required safety regulations. The incident occurred when the 52-year-old leach tank operator, who was on the job for only two months, opened an air intake valve to inspect a noise coming from a barium sulfide wash cone with a steam line that was left open the day before. According to OSHA, a rush of cold air in the steam line created a bubble that pushed up heated sludge onto the worker. The worker suffered chemical and thermal burns while a nearby employee suffered second-degree burns across their upper body. OSHA cited the company for five serious violations, including failing to rectify slip and trip hazards, exposing workers to entrapment hazards, and failing to establish energy control procedures, creating thermal, and chemical hazards. The company faces $55,403 in penalties.
In a recent quote, OSHA Area Office Director Jeffery Stawowy said, “Our investigation found that Chemical Products Corp.’s failure to make employee safety a priority allowed conditions that cost a worker his life. Two serious incidents just weeks apart show that the culture at Chemical Products Corp. must change to emphasize worker safety and health. OSHA will continue to monitor and hold the company accountable until there are changes.”