OSHA Cites After Worker Dies From Chemical Burns
Bedford Park, IL (WorkersCompensation.com) - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Raani Corp. for failing to seek emergency medical treatment after a worker incurred chemical burns at the Bedford Park, Ill., manufacturing plant on Nov. 17. The worker died from his injuries on Dec. 8. The company has been cited with 14 safety violations, including six willful violations.
OSHA received a referral from the Cook County medical examiner indicating that a worker had died from burn injuries caused by high-temperature water and a solution that erupted while the worker was beneath an open tank hatch. An investigation determined that the company failed to call 911 to seek emergency medical treatment and neglected to wash the worker in the available safety shower. The worker was transferred to a local occupational health clinic in a co-worker's vehicle more than 30 minutes after the injury.
"Raani Corp. has a legal and moral responsibility to seek immediate medical attention for anyone injured in the workplace," said Greg Baxter, acting regional administrator for OSHA in Chicago. "Failing to provide protective equipment and hazard communication training shows zero commitment to worker safety and health."
Six willful violations have been cited for failing to utilize available emergency care; provide, require and train workers on the proper use of protective clothing; provide eye, face and hand protection when handling high-temperature liquid and hazardous chemicals; and failing to provide hazard communication training to workers exposed to hazardous chemicals. Generally, workers were found wearing medical-grade latex gloves, which are not insulated or sufficient when using high- temperature liquids or the majority of chemicals used at the site. 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.
Additionally, seven serious safety violations involve failing to perform a personal protective equipment assessment; correct an improperly guarded platform; provide visible quick drenching facilities within the immediate work area; train about the usage of powered industrial vehicles; enclose live parts of electrical equipment; use proper safety precautions when transferring flammable liquids; and not maintaining dry, clean floors. 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 knownOne other-than-serious violation was cited for failing to report the fatality to OSHA. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
Proposed penalties total $473,000. The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/RaaniCorp_110113_0515_11.pdf*.
Due to the willful nature of some of the violations, OSHA has placed Raani Corp. in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. The program focuses on recalcitrant employers who endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. For more information about the program, visit http://s.dol.gov/J3.
Raani Corp., a manufacturer of health-care items, over-the-counter pharmaceuticals and household and salon products, employs 150 workers, of which nearly half are temporary day workers. The company was previously inspected by OSHA in 1993, resulting in five serious violations. Raani Corp. has 15 business days from receipt of its current 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.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Calumet City office at 708-891-3800.
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.