Waukegan, Illinois - The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed a fine of nearly $1.6 million (€1.4 million) against AB Specialty Silicones LLC for 12 alleged safety violations connected with a fatal explosion and fire at the company's manufacturing facility 3 May.
Most of the citations in the report, which was published 25 Oct, involved electrical wiring in the plant.
According to the report, several days before the explosion, AB had installed new electrical fixtures, conduits and wiring around a reactor in the plant.
Those items, the report noted, "were not intrinsically safe, approved for the hazardous (classified) location, or safe for the hazardous (classified) location."
The same was true of an electrical control panel installed in the plant at the same time, according to OSHA.
AB also was cited for handling and processing flammable liquids in areas where electrical wiring and fixtures were improperly installed; for not properly classifying and dealing with areas where flammable vapor-air mixtures were present; and for using unapproved, propane-powered forklift trucks in areas where flammable liquids were used.
In each citation, OSHA fined AB the legal maximum of $132,598, for a total of $1,591,156. The agency also gave AB a deadline of 12 Dec to correct all the alleged violations.
Under OSHA regulations, AB has 15 days from the 25 Oct report issuance to pay the fines, contest them before an administrative law judge or seek a private conference with the OSHA area director.
In a statement, AB said it is reviewing the citations and will continue to cooperate fully with the agency.
"Our internal investigation, as well as the Fire Marshal's report, confirmed the incident was in fact an accident, and there was no wilful intent involved," said the company.