The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Westlake Vinyls Co. LP in Geismar, La., for 10 serious safety and health violations, primarily related to OSHA’s process safety management standards. Proposed penalties total $67,000.
OSHA’s Baton Rouge Area Office conducted an inspection under the agency’s national emphasis program on process safety management for covered chemical facilities at the company’s facility on state Highway 73.
According to the Labor Department’s announcement, OSHA found that employees were exposed to the potential of over-pressurized process equipment while conducting operations across the plant.
Ten serious violations include failing to provide accurate process safety information for piping and instrument diagrams, use the appropriate detection methodologies in the process hazard analysis and properly complete emergency shutdown procedures, repair or maintain pressure-relieving devices and conduct management of change while maintaining process equipment.
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.
One other-than-serious violation is not having the design codes for the safety interlock systems used on process equipment.
The company, which is a subsidiary of Houston-based Westlake Chemical Corp., produces vinyl chloride monomer and polyvinyl chloride. It employs about 138 employees at this facility.
Westlake Vinyls has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director in Baton Rouge or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.