AmeriGas Propane L.P. is facing $105,000 in fines for 21 serious violations following a November 2012 fire at its Conroe, TX, facility that sent three workers to the hospital and four to end up treated and released, said Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials.
The Conroe plant inspection expanded to include the national emphasis program on Process Safety Management Covered Chemical Facilities.
The serious violations cited under the process safety management standard include failing to compile process safety information for safety systems, such as emergency shutdowns; ensure equipment complies with recognized and good engineering practices, such as relief systems; address various elements of a process safety hazards analysis, including the use of a methodology appropriate to the complexity of the process, human factors, facility siting and addressing action items or recommendations in a timely manner; inspect and test equipment, including vessels and piping and identify safeguards; and perform the lockout/tagout of equipment and processes and provide training for employees in the use of lockout/tagout. 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 catastrophic release of toxic, reactive or flammable liquids and gases in processes involving highly hazardous chemicals,” said David Doucet, OSHA’s area director in the Houston North office. “It is the employer’s responsibility to identify the hazard, correct the hazard and train the workers.”
AmeriGas is a supplier of propane throughout the United States and employs more than 8,000 workers.