Two companies cited in Danvers, Mass., plant explosion

RP news wires, Noria Corporation
Tags: workplace safety

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited C.A.I. Inc. and Arnel Company for a combined total of 23 alleged serious violations of workplace health and safety standards in connection with the November 22, 2006, explosion that destroyed the companies' Danvers, Mass., manufacturing facilities.

The citations address alleged violations of OSHA standards governing the storage, transfer and use of flammable liquids and, in C.A.I.'s case, the safe management of processes utilizing more than 10,000 pounds of flammable liquids. Failure to comply with these standards exposes employees to fire and explosion hazards.

OSHA cited both companies for failing to have flammable liquid storage tanks vent to outside the building, inadequate ventilation in areas where flammable liquids were mixed, and failing to limit the spread of flammable vapors. The companies also were cited for storing and transferring flammable liquids in the production area, use of unapproved forklifts in flammable areas, and fire doors that were routinely closed and not properly reset in the open position.

C.A.I., which manufactured solvent-based printing inks, was cited for improper transfer of flammable liquids, and for not ensuring that all piping and connections to storage tanks were able to prevent leaks during fires. In addition, the company was cited for not meeting requirements of OSHA's Process Safety Management standard, including not developing a hazard analysis for mixing processes, not training and involving employees in process safety management, not certifying that its operating processes were current and accurate, and lack of procedures to manage changes to the process.

Arnel, which manufactured solvent-based stains and coatings, was cited for an emergency exit route that passed through a high-hazard area, improper disposal of flammable cleaning rags, unlabeled underground storage tanks, and failure to develop a safety and health program to minimize fire and explosion risks for employees working with large amounts of flammable liquids.

As a result of these conditions, C.A.I. Inc. was issued 13 serious citations, with $18,000 in proposed fines, while Arnel Company was issued 10 serious citations with $14,100 in proposed fines. A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Each company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA's area director or to contest the citations before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Methuen Area Office.


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