PSM violations by Baze Chemicals lead to fines by OSHA

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Sep 09, 2015- The Process Safety Management (PSM for short) standard (29 CFR 1910.119), by OSHA (US Occupational Safety and Health Administration), is an important piece of legislation that is meant to make chemical processing industries safer. Violations of this OSHA PSM standard can and do lead to citations and fines, as Baze Chemicals, Inc, found out recently. The company has its headquarters in Odessa, TX but the violations related to its plant in Palestine,TX. Apparently the OSHA website lists about 20 violations including, failing to conduct a process hazard analysis prior to processing a batch of chemicals including ethylene oxide, a high hazard product. The employer also did not develop written procedures for the startup, operations or emergencies for chemical processing.

OSHA has proposed fines upto $114,800 in all for these violations.

“Process safety management prevents the unexpected release of toxic, reactive or flammable liquids and gases in processes involving highly hazardous chemicals,” said Stephen Boyd, OSHA’s area director in Dallas. “It’s vital that Baze ensure safeguards are in place to protect the safety of workers at this facility.”

Reports indicated that one of the serious violations was about the information concerning the technology of the process, which did not include the safe upper and lower limits for temperatures, pressures, flows or compositions. The employer did not ensure that process safety information included the safe upper and lower limits for temperatures and pressures, exposing employees to inhalation, fire and explosion hazards in the event of an ethylene oxide release.

Baze has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.