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WRR Environmental Services Fined By
OSHA For June Explosion
December 16, 2010
– The Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health
Administration on Wednesday cited the hazardous waste management
processor, WRR Environmental Services Company, for failing to implement
measures to prevent potentially catastrophic chemical fires and
explosions at its facility in
OSHA has issued 14
willful and one serious citation to the company with proposed penalties
of $787,000 for failing to fully develop and implement a process safety
management program at the facility. This action stems from the agency's
investigation of a June 29 explosion and fire at the facility.
Services put its workers in grave danger, and it is truly fortunate that
no one was killed or severely injured in these incidents. The company's
blatant disregard for workers' health and safety is not acceptable,"
said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis.
"Even after WRR
Environmental Services experienced a devastating fire that destroyed the
facility in 2007, the company still failed to implement an adequate
program to ensure safe operating conditions," added Assistant Secretary
of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels.
The June 29
explosion and fire was likely caused when an ignition source within a
solvent sludge feed tank ignited flammable solvent vapors, blowing the
roof off of the tank and igniting its contents. A neighboring tank also
exploded. Employees had been working in the area of the solvent sludge
feed tank immediately prior to the explosion. Fortunately, there were no
OSHA has issued WRR Environmental Services Co. Inc. 14 willful citations with proposed fines of $784,000. The citations allege an intentional disregard of the elements of the PSM standard, including failure to implement and provide required process safety information such as engineering drawings and materials of construction
implement process hazard analyses, operating procedures and training;
failure to perform pre-startup safety reviews and inspections and tests
on process equipment; equipment deficiencies; failure to implement
change management procedures; and failure to conduct incident
investigations. A willful violation is one committed with intentional
knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain
indifference to worker safety and health.
Services Co. Inc., which currently employs more than 50 workers, has
been inspected by OSHA five times since 1991. In 2007, a fire and
explosion destroyed most of the facility including the solvent sludge
recycling processes. As a result of those inspections, the company
admitted to 30 serious and four other-than-serious safety violations.
As a result of
OSHA's most recent inspection, the company also has received one serious
citation with proposed penalties of $3,000 for alleged deficiencies in
its emergency action plan. A serious citation is issued 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.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and
penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area
director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational
Safety and Health Review Commission. Employers and employees with
questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call
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