Unsafe Response to Chemical Spill Nets Fine of $171,000 for Milwaukee Business

May 12, 2005

A dangerous clean-up operation following a 33-gallon spill of muriatic acid at Solvox Mfg. Company, a subsidiary of Hydrite Chemical Company, Milwaukee, has resulted in a proposed fine of $171,000 and workplace safety and health violations issued by the U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the agency announced today.

OSHA opened an inspection in November 2004 at Solvox after receiving information that workers were assisting in the emergency response, neutralization and clean up of the spill without being provided proper personal protective equipment or training in emergency response.

Muriatic acid is highly corrosive and may cause severe burns to all body tissue. OSHA issued three willful and four serious violations to Solvox, alleging that workers engaged in the clean-up were not provided appropriate personal protective equipment and were not properly trained in emergency response procedures.

Solvox manufactures organic chemicals, polishes and sanitation goods, paints, varnishes, lacquers, enamels and allied products. Approximately 40 workers are employed at the Milwaukee facility.

Willful violations are those committed with an intentional disregard or plain indifference to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. A serious citation is issued 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.

The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to appeal before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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