The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Georgia Gulf Chemicals & Vinyls LLC with 14 serious violations for exposing workers to multiple safety and health hazards at the company's facility in Plaquemine, La. Proposed penalties total $55,000.
"An employer's greatest resource is its workers, and exposing them to preventable injuries and illnesses will not be tolerated," said Dorinda Folse, director of OSHA's Baton Rouge Area Office in Louisiana. "The Occupational Safety and Health Act is designed to ensure that workers have a safe workplace."
OSHA's Baton Rouge Area Office initiated its investigation on July 20 after an OSHA inspector observed violations by Georgia Gulf Chemicals employees while conducting an investigation of a different company contracted to do maintenance work inside the same Plaquemine facility.
The violations include failing to illuminate exit routes, ensure vessels were inspected on a regular basis, train workers performing preventive maintenance on safety critical instruments, and ensure eyewashes had adequate flow and capped nozzles. A serious violation is one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Georgia Gulf Chemicals & Vinyls LLC, headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., employs approximately 2,000 workers company-wide, including about 600 located at the Plaquemine facility. The company also has operations in Texas and Mississippi.
The company, which specializes in the production of chlorine, caustic soda, vinyl chloride monomer, vinyl resins, phenol and acetone, has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Baton Rouge or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.