BOSTON – The U.S. Department of Labor has secured a settlement agreement with Bostik Inc., a Middleton-based adhesives manufacturer, to resolve litigation stemming from citations issued by the department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for safety violations following a March 2011 explosion.
OSHA cited Bostik in September after a six-month investigation found numerous violations of the agency's process safety management standard, which is a detailed set of requirements and procedures that employers must follow to proactively address hazards associated with processes and equipment involving large amounts of hazardous chemicals. In this case, the chemical was acetone, which was used in a PSM standard-covered process known as direct solvation.
According to the settlement, Bostik has taken and continues to take corrective action to address deficiencies in its PSM program and enhance the program's effectiveness, and also agrees to submit proof of abatement to OSHA. Bostik paid a fine of $600,000 and is no longer using the direct solvation process at the Middleton facility. OSHA originally proposed $917,000 in fines.
"This resolution speeds corrective action that might otherwise have been delayed through lengthy litigation," said Michael Felsen, the Labor Department's regional solicitor in Boston.
"Just as important, the settlement commits Bostik to strengthening its PSM program to prevent the possibility of a similar incident in the future, and to apprise us of its progress in abating the hazards," said Jeffrey A. Erskine, OSHA's area director for northeastern Massachusetts.
The explosion was investigated by OSHA's Andover Area Office, and the case was litigated by the Labor Department's Regional Office of the Solicitor in Boston.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
Source: U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration
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