The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Environmental Enterprises Inc. with 22 safety and health violations after a fire and explosion occurred at the Cincinnati waste treatment facility, which killed one worker and badly burned another. The 22 violations carry a proposed fine of $325,710.The OSHA area director stated, “Environmental Enterprises demonstrated a complete disregard for employee’s safety and health by failing to recognize and train employees on potentially dangerous interactions between materials being handled and tools in use. Even after this tragic explosion, the company failed to immediately address procedures and ensure employees knew how to use appropriate personal protective equipment and properly handle hazardous waste such as sodium chlorate. OSHA is committed to protecting workers on the job, and educating employers about safety and health regulations.”
An OSHA investigation determined that the cause of the fire and explosion was the ignition of organic industrial filter cartridge filled with sodium chlorate, which is a strong oxidizer. Employees were given permission to use an electrically powered saw to remove metal caps from the end of the filters; however, when sodium chlorate is in contact with incompatible materials it becomes sensitive to reactions which result in fire and violent explosions.
OSHA found four willful violations related to the fatality, which resulted in OSHA placing Environmental Enterprises Inc. on the Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates follow-up inspections to guarantee compliance with the law. The program focuses on employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations.
The four cited willful violations include failure to: develop and implement hazardous waste handling procedures, provide new training to employees assigned to handle waste materials, select and ensure the use of proper personal protective equipment, and train workers on its selection and use for protection from various materials that are part of their routine assignments.
There were also nine serious safety violations and seven serious health violations cited.
Pulgini & Norton, LLP attorneys have handled workers’ compensation claims for over 25 years in and around Boston and its surrounding areas. If you or a family member has been injured at work and would like to seek legal assistance, please contact us at (781) 843-2200 or (888) 344-2046 or email us.
Environmental Enterprises cited for 22 violations after worker dies from burns suffered at Cincinnati hazardous waste treatment facility: US Labor Department’s OSHA places company in severe violator enforcement program, osha.gov, June 20, 2013
After deadly blast, company faces $325K fine, Cincinnati.com, June 20, 2013