OSHA has cited New Windsor, New York-based cosmetics manufacturer Verla International LTD and proposed fines of $281,220 for failing to protect its employees from dangerous chemicals and other hazards after a deadly fire on Nov. 20, 2017.
A Nov. 30 report in the Poughkeepsie Journal stated the fire was caused by two explosions inside the plant, the first of which was caught on video.
The explosions and resulting fire killed one employee and injured more than 125 other people, said the report.
The cause, according to the newspaper account, was static electricity.
The company was cited by OSHA for 11 violations for fall and compressed air hazards and for failing to:
- Ensure proper electrical grounding and bonding to prevent flammable vapors from igniting
- Properly dispose of flammable materials
- Develop and implement an emergency response plan
- Provide employees with first responder awareness level training
- Record a workplace fatality in its OSHA 300 illness and injury log
“An employer’s adherence to safety and health standards, including the proper and safe transfer of flammable liquids, is critical to preventing fire, explosions, and other incidents that can seriously or fatally injure workers,” says OSHA Albany Area Office Director Robert Garvey, who also notes that OSHA cited the company in 2013 for similar violations.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.