Bostik, Inc., a manufacturer of adhesives, faces $917,000 in OSHA fines for 50 citations following the agency’s investigation into a March 13, 2011, explosion that injured four workers at the company’s Middleton, MA, plant.
OSHA says on the day of the explosion, a valve on a transfer line for acetone was left open, resulting in the release of flammable vapors. The vapors exploded after being ignited by an undetermined source.
Bostik knew from third party and internal audits that aspects of its process safety management (PSM) program were incomplete or inadequate, according to OSHA.
Fortunately, not many workers were in the plant at the time of the explosion. The four workers who were injured are back at work at the plant.
OSHA issued nine willful citations, with $630,000 in proposed fines, for serious deficiencies in Bostik’s PSM program, including:
- analysis of hazards related to a chemical process didn’t address previous incidents with a potential for catastrophic results, such as forklifts that struck equipment
- lack of attention to human factors such as operator error, communication between shift changes and employee fatigue from excessive overtime
- failure to ensure that a forklift and electrical equipment, such as a light fixture, switches and a motor, were approved for use in Class I hazardous locations where flammable gases are present.
Bostik has also been issued 41 serious citations, with $287,000 in fines, for a range of other conditions including an incomplete emergency response plan, inadequate training for employees required to fight fires and obstructed exits.
Bostik says it’s upgraded its Middleton plant since the explosion and it’s reviewing OSHA’s findings. The company has 15 days to decide whether to appeal the fines.