OSHA Cites OH Resin Manufacturer Again
Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced that it has found that resin manufacturing company Sumitomo Bakelite North American Inc.—operating as Durez Corp. in Kenton, Ohio—again failed to follow required safety measures to protect workers from the dangers of chemical exposure and potential explosion.
OSHA said in a recent press release that it had previously identified similar violations by the company in a 2019 inspection.
In response to a complaint, OSHA opened a new investigation in December 2022 and found the company did not prevent resin accumulations from exposing control room workers to respiratory and fire hazards.
"Durez Corp. knowingly failed to develop and implement safeguards to protect employees from toxic gas releases, explosions from process equipment, and use good housekeeping procedures to protect its employees from potential combustible resin fires," said OSHA Area Director Todd Jensen in Toledo, Ohio.
"This company must make safety as important as profit before employees are sickened or tragedy occurs."
According to OSHA, in certain concentrations, flammable vapors can ignite, leading to powerful explosions and leaving workers seriously injured or worse. For workers manufacturing plastic resin, the high heat used in the production process reportedly increases those risks.
In its most recent action, OSHA cited Durez Corp. for one willful violation for its failure to ensure the HVAC system effectively maintained a positive pressure on the control room and automatically shut off in the event of a formaldehyde release and to ensure employees working in the control room would not be injured in the event of a reaction vessel explosion. The company also reportedly received one serious citation for lacking an effective housekeeping program to minimize the amount of combustible resin on surfaces throughout the facility.
OSHA has proposed penalties to the company of $171,884. The company reportedly 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.
According to OSHA’s press release, Sumitomo Bakelite North American Inc. is a subsidiary of Sumitomo Bakelite Co. Ltd., which produces resins, molding compounds, laminates and circuitry materials for the automotive, aerospace, electronics and electrical and oil and gas industries.
More information about OSHA's guidelines for process safety management can be found here.
Other Recent OSHA News
Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor recently unveiled the availability of more than $12.7 million in funding to support training initiatives designed to promote workplace health and safety.
The Susan Harwood Training Grant Program, administered by OSHA, includes funding opportunities for Targeted Topic Training, Training and Educational Materials Development, and new Capacity Building training grants for nonprofit organizations.
Grants will support recipients’ efforts to provide instructor-led remote and in-person hands-on training for workers and employers in:
Specifically, the Harwood grants will reportedly fund training and education on how to recognize, avoid and control hazards, as well as inform workers of their rights and employers of their responsibilities under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. EDT on July 7.
And at the beginning of May, OSHA announced that it has begun a National Emphasis Program to prevent falls in the construction industry.
The emphasis program will reportedly focus on reducing fall-related injuries and fatalities for people working at heights in all industries. According to the administration, falls are the leading cause of fatal workplace injuries and the violation the agency cites most frequently in construction industry inspections.