Wacker Charleston is facing $21,600 in fines for two citations covering nine serious violations after an explosion injured several people at its Charleston, TN, plant in August last year, said officials at the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration (TOSHA).
In the citations, TOSHA investigators said Wacker did not develop and utilize safe work practices to control hazards during several different operations.
TOSHA also cited Wacker for not requiring employees to wear protective clothing when dealing with toxic and explosive chemicals, leading to several employees receiving chemical and thermal burns.
Wacker has received $21,600 in fines for the violations.
In addition, another incident from September last year is still under investigation, said Chris Cannon, a spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce. Tennova hospital said 13 people were treated in that explosion.
Wacker spokesperson Lisa Mantooth released the following statement:
“On February 26, 2018, Wacker-Charleston received from TOSHA two citations pertaining to the inadvertent and unexpected release of chemicals during maintenance of removed process equipment on August 30, 2017. These citations are unrelated to the incident on September 7, 2017, which resulted in the temporary shutdown of the facility while repairs can be made. We expect to receive separate findings from TOSHA regarding the September 7, 2017 incident in the near future.
“The citations issued by TOSHA relate primarily to protective clothing, procedures, and hazard analysis pertaining to the maintenance activities on certain process equipment. Wacker has been hard at work in recent months to continuously improve its safety program. Indeed, many of the concerns have already been or are in the process of being addressed. Wacker will carefully and diligently study and respond to the concerns raised by TOSHA.
“Wacker takes seriously its responsibility for the safety of its team members and community. That responsibility will continue to guide Wacker as it prepares to move forward.
“Wacker thanks TOSHA for its professionalism and commitment to employee health and safety. Wacker shares TOSHA’s concern for workers and fully cooperated during the investigation to look for further improvements to plant safety. Mary Beth Hudson, vice president of polysilicon, site manager – Charleston explained: ‘Safety is our number one value and priority. We are constantly working to ensure the safety of our site, our team members, our community, and our environment as we move toward restarting production at the site. We are committed to providing safe and secure jobs in our community.’ ”