OSHA Cites Manufacturer for Safety Hazards

July 8, 2005

The U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Howard Fertilizer & Chemical Company Inc., for 38 alleged serious violations of workplace safety and health standards. The citations, which assess penalties totaling $73,850, follow investigation of a Feb. 16 accident at the company’s Groveland, Fla., plant.

According to OSHA, an employee at the plant was mixing and heating chemicals inside a modified steel drum when it became over-pressurized, exploded and launched through the plant’s ceiling. The employee was seriously burned.

“This accident could have been prevented if the company had performed a hazard assessment before beginning the process,” said Les Grove, OSHA’s Tampa area director.

OSHA cited the company, and proposed penalties totaling $17,500, for failing to: use proper equipment to mix and heat chemicals; assess hazards involved in processing chemicals; determine and provide appropriate personal protective equipment for employees, and provide employees with chemical-hazard-recognition training.

The company was also cited for failing to protect workers from falls, amputations, electrical and confined space hazards. Proposed penalties for those violations were $56,350.

Howard Fertilizer & Chemical Company has 15 working days to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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