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OSHA fines Formosa Plastics — again

By: Frank Esposito

September 20, 2012

DELAWARE CITY, DEL. (Sept. 20, 2:30 p.m. ET) — For the second time in three years, Formosa Plastics Corp. USA has been fined for alleged safety and health hazards at its dispersion PVC resin plant in Delaware City.

On Sept. 19, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced $148,700 in proposed penalties for 16 alleged violations at the site, which employs about 100. Two of the violations are repeat offenses that also were cited in a separate investigation in early 2010.

Those repeat violations involve alleged failure to perform process equipment inspections and tests, failure to inspect critical valves and failure to ensure that PVC dust did not accumulate on surfaces and on the floor of a bagging area.

The other violations include alleged electrical hazards, lack of machine guarding, incomplete emergency shutdown procedures and other claims, all of which are classified as serious violations by OSHA.

“This employer continues to disregard OSHA’s process safety management standard and put its workers at risk of injury and possible death,” Domenick Salvatore, office director for the Wilmington, Del., area, said in a news release.

Officials with Livingston, N.J.-based Formosa “are currently reviewing” the OSHA report, spokesman Steve Rice said by phone Sept. 20. The firm has until Sept. 28 to respond to the citations.

The 2010 OSHA investigation produced 27 alleged serious violations — including a claim of unguarded floor holes and walkways — and a fine of $133,500. That investigation was begun after OSHA received a complaint from an employee at the site.

In late 2009, Formosa paid a civil penalty of almost $3 million to resolve several alleged environmental violations at its plastics and chemicals plants in Point Comfort, Texas, and Baton Rouge, La. At that time, the firm also agreed to spend more than $10 million on pollution controls at those sites.