Contractors Insurance No Comments

OSHA Penalizes Sparta Chemical Manufacturer over Worker Safety

Neurological damage, blindness, and severe burns are all potential risks when working in a chemical production facility. Most employers take the necessary precautions to protect their workers, but once in a while, there are those employers that forfeit employee safety for a cushioned bottom line. Diversified CPC International Inc., a chemical manufacturer based out of Channahon, Illinois, was recently cited by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for numerous violations of the organization’s process safety management, which will cost the firm $73,500 in proposed penalties.

That safety management standard requires employers to develop, implement, and update safety management programs for hazardous chemicals. Diversified’s Sparta, NJ branch failed to do so, with violations stemming from their use of liquefied petroleum gases, fluorocarbons, and dimethyl ether. Despite OSHA’s victory in Sparta, the agency has had its hands tied when it comes to regulating facilities using extremely hazardous chemicals.

“OSHA itself has said many times they don’t have the resources to go around inspecting all of the places that need inspecting,” exclaimed Sandy Gilmour of the Chemical Safety Board.

Too often, OSHA has to rely on the EPA’s lists (which amount to guesswork) on the chemicals present at certain factories. They also lack the resources to do more than three or four thorough inspections a year at these dangerous facilities leaving room for employers to clean their act up when an OSHA representative comes knocking on their door.

With a shortage of resources, the responsibility for employee safety falls entirely on the employer. Here are some ways to protect your employees from future injury, and to ensure that your business remains afloat.

OSHA Suggestions:

  • Develop and implement written procedures for mechanical integrity and operating procedures, so employees are informed on how to conduct themselves safely.
  • Do a hazard analysis and have an emergency action plan.
  • Keep tabs on equipment and make sure it is working properly.
  • Complete a compliance audit.
  • Certify operating procedures are current and accurate annually.
  • Complete accurate piping and instrument diagrams.
  • Make sure your relief system design and design basis are included in information about certain equipment.
Contractors Insurance No Comments

Ocean County Residents Fight to Preserve Barnegat Bay

Barnegat Bay, a fairly large expanse of brackish water that runs along 42 miles of the South Jersey coast (between the white sandy beaches of Island State Park and the confines of Lanoka Harbor), represents one of the greatest ecological treasures in the state. The Bay hosts a wide variety of creatures (crabs, fish, birds and other wildlife) as well as humans. 560,000 people currently call this area home, but that home has come under fire recently with the substantial increase in superstorms, such as Sandy, which hit in October of 2012.

A new proposition

While numerous conservation efforts are currently underway, a $2 million portable storm water treatment system could be a key instrument in preserving the health of the bay. Runoff from storm water discharge has led local officials to take a step back and consider a new approach to reduce the amount of contaminants in the water, thus they decided a portable treatment system was necessary. The traditional method involved the use of jetvac trucks that flush and pump water from storm drains. After the water, the drivers then discharge the fluid into one of three Ocean County Utilities Authority regional treatment centers.

The new treatment system simplifies the time consuming process, and could greatly reduce the levels of nitrogen in the bay area. According to Freeholder Director Joseph Vicari, one of the lead advocates for the system, the county will “be able to do more with less labor. We can treat more water with less time and less money.”

How does the new system work?

The system reduces travel time from site to site by combining all of the tools from the previous project into one device. Water is collected from the storm drain, treated on site, and discharged back into the cleaned drain. The Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders now has to wait for their grant application to be approved by the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust. If approved, the revolutionary treatment system could have widespread implications for the area and help reverse the declining health of Barnegat Bay.

Is there anything we can do in the meantime?

Do your best to prevent runoff. Greater than 60 percent of the nitrogen entering the bay occurs in northern Ocean County because it’s more developed. If you live anywhere in or along the bay, we urge you to follow these steps from the EPA that are designed to prevent runoff. Be especially careful with the amount of fertilizer you put on your lawn, as those chemicals could end up in the fresh water that runs into Barneget Bay, jeopardizing your water supply.

You can also volunteer for the Barnegat Bay Partnership. With your help, they hope to restore, protect, and enhance the natural resources of the estuary.