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OSHA cites Huntsman Petrochemical of Houston for endangering workers
Dec '10
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued Huntsman Petrochemical LLC, headquartered in Houston, 12 serious citations for an inadequate process safety management program and deficient lockout/tagout procedures to prevent the accidental start-up of machinery. The violations were found at the company's facility on Jefferson Chemical Road in Conroe, Texas. Proposed penalties total $75,600.

"The health and safety of its employees should be a high priority for this company," said David Doucet, area director of OSHA's Houston North Area Office. "Failure to implement safe procedures is unacceptable."

OSHA began its investigation June 7 in response to an incident in one of the company's process units.

Alleged serious violations include failing to incorporate operating procedures for all safety devices in the company's operating guide; adequately train employees in safe operating procedures; properly shut down process equipment; identify and isolate all energy sources to the equipment; and to ensure lockout/tagout energy isolating devices such as line valves prior to employees performing maintenance on the equipment. A serious citation is issued when there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Huntsman Petrochemical, which employs about 150 workers at its Conroe facility, is a unit of Huntsman International LLC. That company is a subsidiary of Huntsman Corp., which employs more than 11,000 worldwide.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Houston, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Employers and employees with questions about workplace safety and health standards can call OSHA's Houston North Area Office at 281-591-2438 or its Houston South Area Office at 281-286-0583. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

OSHA - U.S. Department of Labor

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