OSHA proposes $87,780 fine for MFG Chemical after poisonous chemicals killed a worker

A MFG Chemical plant is seen in this file photo.
photo A MFG Chemical plant is seen in this file photo.

The federal government has cited MFG Chemical after an overpressurized reactor released poisonous chemicals that injured two workers at Dalton, Ga.-based MFG Chemical, killing one, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

In a news release, OSHA said the worker died after hazardous chemical vapors released from an overpressurized reactor burned his respiratory system. A second employee was treated at a hospital and released. OSHA has proposed penalties totaling $87,780.

This isn't the plant's first safety violation. MFG Chemical, which manufactures specialty chemicals for the water treatment, agriculture and paper industries, was cited in July 2014 by OSHA for 17 health and safety violations after the agency was alerted by the media that the plant had released other chemicals at that time.

"MFG continues to violate OSHA standards, exposing workers to serious hazards associated with process safety management," said Christi Griffin, director of OSHA's Atlanta-West Area Office. "Allowing repeated violations demonstrates the company's lack of commitment to worker safety and health."

According to OSHA, MFG was cited for "failure to ensure that the reactor system alarm provided early warning for worker evacuation; not training workers on the hazards of permit-required confined spaces and failure to ensure equipment used for manufacturing had an adequate pressure-relief design."

The company also failed to "ensure guarded floor openings and pits; establish and implement written changes to the chemical manufacturing process; and identify previous workplace incidents that had the potential for catastrophic results. Other violations included failure to provide medical examinations for workers required to use respirators and not conducting fit tests for respirators."

MFG was inspected by OSHA previously in 2012 and received 19 serious citations related to process safety management standards. 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.

In 2013, 70 workers in Georgia were killed on the job out of 4,405 fatal work injuries reported nationally, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Wrigley Manufacturing was fined $8,570 after a woman was killed on the job in 2013, after investigators found a handful of violations.

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