Dover Chemical Co. is facing fines of $545,000 for 47 health and safety violations, including four willful violations, and has placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The case began when a breach of a polyvinyl chloride piping system caused a hazmat release that temporarily shut down the company’s Dover, OH, plant and an adjacent highway on May 21, 2012. There were no injuries in the incident.
OSHA opened an investigation focused on Dover Chemical’s compliance with the process safety management (PSM) standards.
“By disregarding OSHA’s common-sense regulations, this employer endangered the health and safety of the facility’s workers,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. “While I’m grateful that nobody was injured from the incident, I’m alarmed by the egregious nature of the violations we uncovered during our inspection.”
All of the willful violations involve process safety management. They include failing to correct deficiencies found in compliance audits, and process safety information not detailing the construction materials used for piping and piping system components. According to OSHA, 30 serious violations also relate to PSM, such as inaccurate operating procedures, inadequate information about the hazardous effects of inadvertently mixing different chemicals, not training employees about PSM, and not correcting deficiencies noted during equipment inspections.
Eleven of the remaining violations were serious and two more as other-than-serious.
The Dover plant employs 175 workers and produces chlorinated paraffin, additives for flame-resistant products, and other additives for the plastic, rubber coating, and adhesive and textile product industries. OSHA inspected the plant four previous times during the past five years, according to the OSHA news release.
Dover Chemical said the event as an overheating incident in one of its phosphite reactors.
“The reactor chamber vented smoke and steam and was eventually contained, and there were no injuries (within the plant), no explosions, no fires and no liquid spills. There was no damage to any of the other plant lines. The facility evacuated for several hours, and the highway next to the facility closed temporarily while the situation was under investigation. Most of the plant resumed production by Tuesday May 23rd. Dover does not expect any significant order delays as a result of the incident, which remains under investigation,” the company said.