The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued Styro-Tech LLC in Denver 20 serious and four other-than-serious citations with $66,400 in proposed penalties for lacking a comprehensive safety program covering the use of flammable material. OSHA's inspection of the foam manufacturing facility was initiated under a site-specific targeting program focusing on employers with high injury and illness rates.

"The processing of flammable chemicals involves well-known hazards," said Greg Baxter, OSHA's regional administrator in Denver. "For the safety of its workers, this employer must ensure that protective measures are taken to prevent the catastrophic release of flammable vapors, which can lead to fires and explosions."

OSHA's inspection found that the employer was not implementing a comprehensive process safety management program for handling large quantities of flammable material. OSHA also cited the company for failure to follow energy control procedures; lack of proper guarding for open-sided floors; improperly fixed ladders; lack of machine guarding; and using improper electrical equipment.

A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

"Styro–Tech is required to have a process safety management system for the processing of flammable chemicals," said Herb Gibson, OSHA's Denver Area Office director. "Many of these hazards could have been corrected if the employer had an effective safety and health management system, which would identify hazards in the workplace and reduce the likelihood of injuries and illnesses."

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with the OSHA area director or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.