May 2022 Enforcement

US Department of Labor issues $139K in penalties to address
workplace safety deficiencies after six workers injured in flash fire


Investigation findings: The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued citations with a combined 11 serious violations to four employers for lack of safe work practices; confined space permit violations; confined space training, exposure to airborne concentrations of benzene; struck-by hazards; flash fire and explosions hazards and not performing process equipment inspections.

OSHA initiated an investigation following a flash fire and subsequent explosion that seriously injured six workers Sept. 27, 2021, at Westlake Chemicals in Sulphur, Louisiana. The incident occurred during preventive care and maintenance activities at Westlake Chemicals Sulphur facility.

Proposed penalties: $139,427

Quote: “Employers are responsible for ensuring employees have a safe workplace by having the correct confined space permits and a plan in place to inspect equipment to prevent serious injuries,” said Area Director Roderic Chube in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. “Employers should also make sure that no employee is exposed to an airborne concentration of benzene in excess of the permissible exposure limits.”  

Links to citations: Turn2 Specialty Companies LLCWestlake Chemical Lake Charles SouthLeak Sealers Inc. and Wastewater Specialties LLC

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