The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued citations against Marcus Oil & Chemical Inc. of Houston for alleged violations of safety standards. The agency proposed penalties totaling $107,250.
Marcus Oil & Chemical, which produces polyethylene waxes and light hydrocarbons, was cited for one alleged willful and 25 alleged serious violations following an inspection by OSHA’s Houston South area office. The inspection, which began Dec. 3 as a result of an explosion and fire at the plant, found that employees were operating pressure vessels without adequate safety relief devices.
“Employers must follow OSHA’s safety standards in order to provide a healthful workplace for employees,” said Chuck Williams, OSHA’s area director in Houston. “Fortunately, in this case, no one was seriously injured.”
The alleged willful violation was for failing to develop and implement safety practices for the control of hazardous chemicals. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with intentional disregard of or plain indifference to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
The alleged serious violations included failure to: provide adequate storage of compressed gas and oxygen cylinders and polyethylene waxes; repair or replace defective forklifts and ladders; correct electrical deficiencies, and provide storage space for fire extinguishers. The company also violated the terms of OSHA’s Process Safety Management Standard for highly hazardous chemicals by failing to conduct an initial process hazard analysis and compliance audit and develop written operating procedures.
The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA Houston South area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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