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OSHA: PPG Workers Exposed to 11 Hazards

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

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Federal authorities have cited paint and coatings producer PPG, alleging nine serious violations and two other-than-serious, stemming from a worker complaint investigation launched in April.

The inspection that resulted in the citation took place at PPG’s facility in Westlake, LA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced Thursday (Oct. 13).

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Founded in 1883 and headquartered in Pittsburgh, PPG has approximately 47,000 employees around the world and 18,500 work in America. The company says "a safe work environment" is a top priority.

Inspectors reportedly found employees exposed to hazards such as corrosive materials and a leaking, 30,000-gallon hot water tank, OSHA alleged. The company faces fines totaling $92,642.

The facility began operations in 1946 and produces precipitated silicas for use in a variety of industrial and consumer applications, according to PPG.

‘Disturbing’ Violations

“The violations found at PPG Industries' Westlake facility are disturbing,” said Dorinda Folse, OSHA's Area Director in Baton Rouge. “Not inspecting safety relief valves endangers workers and could have catastrophic consequences. This employer must take all necessary steps to correct these issues and take the safety of its workers seriously."

In a comment on the case, PPG spokesman Mark Silvey said “a safe work environment is a top priority for PPG.” He added that the company plans to communicate with OSHA to better understand its findings and resolve the matter.

Serious Hazards

The citation, issued Oct. 11, includes allegations that the company failed to conduct air quality monitoring before employees were required to enter a confined space to conduct equipment maintenance. OSHA proposed a fine of $12,471 for that hazard.

OSHA also alleged that the employer allowed employees to access a leaking hot water tank with a water temperature of over 120 degrees Fahrenheit to take samples. The agency proposed $12,471 for that hazard as well.

PPG allegedly failed to ensure that passageways in its building were kept clean and orderly; OSHA inspectors found that employees were required to process amorphous silica and large amounts of silica dust were on floors and equipment, according to the citation document. That violation carried a fine of $7,126.

Other alleged hazards, classified as serious, included:

  • Allowing the use of deteriorated stair rails;
  • Failing to properly store/protect respirators;
  • Failing to inspect lock out/tag out procedures; and
  • Failing to inspect safety relief valves.

The agency also alleged two other-than-serious violations for not illuminating exit signs and not having a protective cover on a junction box to prevent electric shock.

Founded in 1883 and headquartered in Pittsburgh, PPG has approximately 47,000 employees around the world and 18,500 work in America.

   

Tagged categories: Citations; Coatings manufacturers; Enforcement; Health and safety; Manufacturing Plant; OSHA; PPG; Silica

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