The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited AB Specialty Silicones LLC for 12 willful federal safety violations after four employees suffered fatal injuries in an explosion and fire at the company’s Waukegan, Ill., plant on May 3, 2019. The company faces $1,591,176 in penalties. OSHA has placed the silicon chemical products manufacturer in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
OSHA investigators determined AB Specialty Silicones failed to ensure that electrical equipment and installations in the production area of the plant complied with OSHA electrical standards, and were approved for hazardous locations. The company also used forklifts powered by liquid propane to transport volatile flammable liquids. Furthermore, these forklifts were operated in areas where employees handled and processed volatile flammable liquids and gases, creating the potential for ignition.
"Employers must employ hazard recognition to protect workers from harm, especially in high hazard industries," says Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt. "By ignoring safety and health requirements, this employer created an unsafe work environment with deadly consequences."
OSHA provides resources on electrical safety and using forklifts when working with hazardous materials. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
For more information, visit www.osha.gov.