OSHA seeks to fine adhesive manufacturer nearly $1 million for March explosion

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Boston – Adhesive manufacturer Bostik Inc. faces a proposed fine of $917,000 after being cited by OSHA for alleged process safety violations following a March 13 explosion that injured four workers at the company’s Middleton, MA, plant, OSHA announced Sept. 13.

On the day of the explosion, flammable acetone vapors were released when a valve on a transfer line was left open. The vapors were then ignited by an unknown source, according to an OSHA press release.

OSHA said Bostik had inadequate process safety information for the process that used acetone (known as direct solvation), and the company’s hazard analysis for the process did not address previous incidents and human factors. The company also failed to ensure a forklift and electrical equipment were approved for use around flammable gases and vapors. The agency issued nine willful and 41 serious citations.

Jeffrey A. Erskine, OSHA’s area director for northeastern Massachusetts, said Bostik knew from third-party and internal compliance audits conducted at the plant that its process safety management program was lacking, but failed to adequately address the deficiencies.

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