May 23, 2023
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspectors found Sumitomo Bakelite North American Inc. — operating as Durez Corp. in Kenton, OH — has again failed to follow required safety measures to protect workers from the dangers of chemical exposure and potential explosion.
In response to a complaint, OSHA opened an investigation in December 2022 and found the company did not prevent resin accumulations from exposing control room workers to respiratory and fire hazards.
"Durez Corp. knowingly failed to develop and implement safeguards to protect employees from toxic gas releases, explosions from process equipment, and use good housekeeping procedures to protect its employees from potential combustible resin fires," explained OSHA Area Director Todd Jensen. "This company must make safety as important as profit before employees are sickened or tragedy occurs."
The agency cited Durez Corp. for one willful violation for its failure to ensure the HVAC system effectively maintained a positive pressure on the control room and automatically shut off in the event of a formaldehyde release and to ensure employees working in the control room would not be injured in the event of a reaction vessel explosion.
Durez Corp. also received one serious citation for lacking an effective housekeeping program to minimize the amount of combustible resin on surfaces throughout the facility. OSHA has proposed penalties of $171,884.
OSHA recognized similar violations in a 2019 inspection.
Sumitomo Bakelite North American Inc. (subsidiary of Sumitomo Bakelite Co. Ltd.) produces resins, molding compounds, laminates, and circuitry materials for the automotive, aerospace, oil and gas, and electrical industries.
You can find out about OSHA's guidelines for process safety management here.
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