Columbus, OH – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) seeks a $709K fine from a paint manufacturer connected with a fatal April 8 fire and explosion. The incident occurred in Columbus’s Yenkin-Majestic Paint and OPC Polymers Corporation. The company manufactures and markets industrial coatings that include acrylics, alkyds, coil and powder coatings, epoxies, primers, and urethanes. The tragedy linked to eight hospitalizations and one fatality. Property damage alone was more than $1 million. A building in the OPC Polymer unit collapsed as a result of the incident. The blast shook neighboring buildings, and at least one nearby business sustained damage.
The tragedy could have been prevented
“Yenkin-Majestic Paint Corp. could have prevented this tragedy if they had followed industry standards and removed a compromised kettle from service,” said Acting OSHA Regional Administrator William Donovan in Chicago. “Knowing that this company altered equipment, failed to use a qualified fabricator, and returned equipment to service knowing that it did not meet safety standards is unacceptable,” Donovan continued. In December 2020, the manufacturer altered the kettle reactor vessel and the manway opening but did not ensure the vessel maintained its pressure-containing ability. On January 3, following the alteration, the newly installed manway failed. The company made additional alterations to the vessel when installing a new gasket. It again failed to adhere to OSHA’s PSM, pressure vessel inspection procedures, and the American Petroleum Institute’s pressure vessel inspection code.
OSHA’s investigationdetermined the kettle reactor vessel released a flammable vapor cloud when its manway cover and gasket failed. The vapor flowed throughout the plant, ignited, and caused the initial explosion.
The citations and penalties
OSHA cited the Ohio paint and resins manufacturer with two willful and 33 serious safety violations. The violations including of the process safety management (PSM) and hazardous waste operations and emergency response (HAZWOPER) standards. OSHA also cited the employer for lack of employee safety training and personal protective equipment (PPE). The agency proposed penalties totaling $709,960 and placed Yenkin-Majestic in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP). Willful violations will be cited when an employer knowingly disregards or acts indifferently for safety and health laws and regulations. Employers included in the SVEP are subject to mandatory follow-up inspections and under pressure to abide by cited safety hazards.
The U.S.Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) also dispatched investigators to the Columbus facility following the incident. The CSB is an independent federal agency that investigates industrial chemical accidents. CSB investigations can take several months and result in a report containing recommendations for government agencies, companies, trade associations, labor unions, and other groups.
Martin Technical encourages organizations to develop a robust workplace safety strategy by including regular workplace safety training.
Fort Worth, Texas – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently cited two contractors for fall hazards and is seeking six-figure penalties. On Sept. 17, OSHA cited RM Masonry and Stucco Inc. of Fort Worth for exposing workers to fall and silica hazards, a total of nine repeated and six serious violations. The offenses included failing to ensure scaffolding was planked correctly and secured, providing a ladder for safe egress, and inspecting scaffolding. Later, on Sept. 20, the agency cited Neal Weaver, an Ohio-based contractor, with severe eye and fall protection violations. The company has exposed its workers to deadly fall hazards for the sixth time in five years. OSHA is seeking fines totaling $216,265 and $253,556, respectively.
“Fall hazards make roofing work among the most dangerous jobs in construction,” Cleveland Area Director Howard Eberts said in a recent statement. “Employers must ensure that employees working from heights greater than 6 feet are provided with fall protection equipment and are well trained. Too often, OSHA inspectors find employees working on residential roofs without fall protection,” Eberts continued. OSHA’s construction industry fall protection standard (29 CFR §1926.501) is the agency’s most frequently cited standard, a total of 5,424 times in the fiscal year (FY) 2020. At the same time, the scaffolding standard (§1926.451) is the fourth most commonly cited standard with a total of 2,538 violations in FY 2020.
Fall Protection is OSHA’s Most Frequently Cited Standard for the 11th Consecutive Year
In fact, for the 11th consecutive fiscal year, Fall Protection – General Requirements is OSHA’s most frequently cited standard. Patrick Kapust, deputy director of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs, presented this preliminary data from FY 2021 (Oct. 1, 2020, to Sept. 30) on Oct. 12 during the 2021 NSC Safety Congress & Expo. Although several standards swapped positions, the criteria that make up the Top 10 Violations remained unchanged from FY 2020. The complete list is as below:-
Fall Protection – General Requirements (1926.501): 5,295 violations
Prince William, VA – A fatal accident occurred when an extended power lift hit an electrical transmission line causing the death of a construction worker from injuries. The electrical accident also resulted in a power outage that affected schools and more than 46,000 residents in Woodbridge and Lake Ridge, according to Dominion Energy spokeswoman Sharonda Shepard.
The accident was first reported to Prince William County fire and rescue units at about 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 24, according to Assistant Fire Chief Matt Smolsky. Prince William Fire & Rescue teams worked with Dominion Energy to rescue the two construction workers trapped in the power lift. It came in contact with power lines near a Shorehaven apartment complex located in the 1600 block of Porters Inn Drive near Walmart. The Dominion Energy crews delayed the rescue effort until they could ensure it was safe. The worker’s death has been categorized as unattended and is under investigation by the Prince William County Police Department.
A Total of 5,333 Fatal Work Injuries in the Recent Report
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded a total of 5,333 fatal work injuries in the 2019 report. The fatal work injuries figures represent the most significant annual number since 2007 in the United States, with a 2 percent increase from the 5,250 in 2018. Everyone would agree that we want to continue to decrease the number of workplace accidents across Canada, the United States, and the rest of the world.
In order to break the increasing trend and the number of fatal accidents, Martin Technical strongly encourages organizations to develop a caring and motivating culture towards employees by scheduling regular workplace health and safety training.