OSHA Issues $1.6M in Penalties to Illinois Silicone Manufacturer After Deadly Plant Explosion
November 14, 2019
Waukegan, IL – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited AB Specialty Silicones LLC for 12 willful federal safety violations and issued $1,591,176 in penalties. OSHA has placed the silicone chemical products manufacturer in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program after four employees suffered fatal injuries in an explosion and fire at the company’s Waukegan, Illinois plant. Being classified under this program subjects the company to closer regulatory scrutiny and remedial measures.
According to OSHA, on May 3, 2019, an explosion occurred at the plant while 9 employees were on the premises. Investigations conducted by OSHA uncovered a multitude of safety problems associated with the AB Specialty Silicones plant. Investigators determined that electrical equipment in the production area of the plant did not comply with the electrical standards set forth by OSHA and was not approved for hazardous locations. The company also used forklifts powered by liquid propane to transport volatile flammable liquids and operated these forklifts in areas where employees handled and processed volatile flammable liquids and gases, creating the potential for ignition.
OSHA provides resources on electrical safety and safe use of forklifts when working with hazardous materials. Employers must comply with the safety and health standards set forth by OSHA and other federal agencies, such as the appropriate use of electrical equipment and forklifts when handling flammable liquids. These measures are critical to preventing fires, explosions, and other incidents that can seriously or fatally injure workers.
AB Specialty Silicones LLC has 15 days to appeal against these citations and penalties.