JOLIET, Ill. -- Exposing workers to hazardous chemicals and chemical particles has resulted in Seeler Industries Inc. being cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 19- including one willful- safety and health violations. The citations carry proposed penalties of $134,400. OSHA initiated an inspection on Feb. 4, 2014, after receiving a complaint alleging hazards at the company's 3 Rivers Terminal in Joliet, which provides storage, transfer and packaging services for bulk liquid and dry chemicals.
OSHA's investigation found Seeler Industries did not provide employees with an effective training program, including information on appropriate handling and safe use of hazardous chemicals. The company's failure to provide this training resulted in the issuance of the willful citation. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirement, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health.
'Workers have the right to know what workplace chemicals they are exposed to and to be protected against exposure, which can have severe health effects,' said Kathy Webb, OSHA's area director in Calumet City. 'Mishandling chemicals can result in catastrophic fires and explosions. It is the employer's responsibility to protect workers from these hazards.'
OSHA's investigation also found that Seeler Industries did not implement engineering controls to reduce employee exposure and failed to label containers with information that identified and warned of the hazardous chemicals contained inside. Workers were exposed to quantities of chemicals greater than the OSHA permissible exposure limit.
Other serious violations were cited for failing to provide fall protection, such as guardrails, and a sanitary work environment; follow respiratory protection standards; and train workers on confined space requirements, the use of personal protective equipment and proper operation of powered industrial vehicles. Other violations included lack of specific lockout/tagout* procedures to protect workers operating dangerous machinery and exposing workers to live electrical parts by failing to shut down equipment during service and maintenance.
A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
To view the current citations, visit http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/SeelerIndustriesSafetyCitations-966089.pdf* and http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/SeelerIndustriesHealthCitations-957322.pdf*.
Seeler Industries operates 3 Rivers Terminal, a for-hire chemical terminal facility providing services in blending, on-site laboratory, storage, transfer, packaging and shipping to the chemical industry. The terminal has seven truck loading racks and 42 railcar unloading positions. The facility employs about 60 workers.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Calumet City, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's Calumet City office at 708-891-3800 or the 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 ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.