A lack of safety training and a forklift not approved for use in a hazardous environment proved to be an explosive combination.
OSHA has fined Polychem Services Inc. $110,000 in connection with an explosion in which two workers were injured at the company’s Chicago Heights, IL, location.
The workers were required to operate forklifts with LP designations in hazardous work areas where highly flammable substances were processed and transferred, according to OSHA.
Both workers received first- and second-degree burns. One was hospitalized for six days; one was in the hospital for a day. Both missed months of work as a result.
OSHA issued six willful, one repeat and four serious violations, including failure to:
- provide a suitable industrial vehicle for use in a hazardous location (willful)
- train workers about hazardous workplace materials (willful)
- provide adequate drenching facilities for workers exposed to corrosive chemicals (willful)
- train workers about personal protective equipment (repeat: Polychem was cited for this after a worker suffered second-degree burns at the facility in 2010)
- provide and require use of appropriate body protection (serious), and
- train workers how to use powered industrial vehicles (serious).
The workers were both placed at Polychem by a temporary staffing agency. One had been on the job for six weeks, the other for 11 months. The temporary agency wasn’t cited by OSHA because it didn’t oversee or direct work at the Polychem location.
Polychem has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal hearing with OSHA or appeal the findings to the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.