OSHA levies $126K fine on Heritage-WTI

Staff report


Heritage-WTI Inc., a hazardous-waste treatment and disposal facility in East Liverpool, has been fined $126,000 for 11 health violations.

The violations were announced Tuesday and included a willful violation of “failing to review and annually certify operating procedures for the process safety management of hazardous chemicals,” according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

OSHA initially came to the facility in December 2011 after a worker was killed by “metal dust deflagration” [combustion] that occurred when he was manually separating the contents of 55-gallon drums containing metal wastes and residue. There was a second OSHA review in February.

“Employers must provide safe working conditions, especially for employees who work with highly hazardous chemicals,” said Howard Eberts, OSHA’s area director in Cleveland. “These citations basically mean that Heritage-WTI failed to create safety procedures and then review those procedures to ensure their effectiveness.”

The other safety violations classified by OSHA as serious included failing to conduct a process hazard analysis on the kiln, providing documentation that proves the kiln complies with recognized good engineering practices, addressing problems found in process hazard analyses and correcting deficiencies in the kiln’s written operating procedures.

Additional serious violations include failing to provide processes or procedures to ensure that spare parts and equipment are suitable for their intended applications, reviewing incident reports with workers whose job tasks are relevant to the findings, conducting a compliance audit at least every three years and responding to deficiencies found in compliance audits.

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, according to OSHA.

Heritage-WTI has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area office or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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