The U.S. Department of Labor Proposes $393K in Fines After a Follow-Up Inspection Finds Vernona, Missouri Chemical Plant, BCP Ingredients, Continues to Endanger Workers.
BCP Ingredients cited for 16 additional violations after 24 violations in 2021
VERONA, MO (STL.News) Less than two years after an investigation found dozens of serious safety and health violations at a Verona, Missouri chemical plant, workplace safety inspectors with the U.S. Department of Labor identified 16 violations, including those that put employees at risk of exposure to toxic substances such as ethylene oxide.
After its January 2023 follow-up inspection, the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued four repeat and nine serious safety and health violations and proposed $393,798 in penalties to BCP Ingredients Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Balchem Corp. The agency also issued a hazard alert letter for inadequate medical evaluation procedures for workers exposed to ethylene oxide. In October 2021, OSHA cited the same facility for 24 serious safety and health violations.
“Ethylene oxide is a colorless and flammable gas, and unsafe exposure can cause cancer and other serious health issues,” said OSHA Area Director Karena Lorek in Kansas City, Missouri. “The company’s failure to address its previous violations and follow OSHA regulations is troubling. BCP needs to bring its monitoring procedures into compliance immediately and re-evaluate its engineering processes to make sure its employees are kept safe and healthy.”
Investigators cited multiple OSHA violations, including the following:
- Inadequate process safety management procedures and monitoring.
- Failing to develop an emergency evacuation plan.
- Failing to train workers on actions to take in the event of a chemical release.
- Exposing respirators to ethylene oxide while in storage.
- Allowing electrical safety hazards.
Part of Balchem’s Animal Nutrition and Health Division, BCP Ingredients Inc. produces choline, nutrient encapsulation, chelated minerals, and functional ingredients for feed and animal supplements. The Verona facility also produces food ingredients primarily for the baking industry. Based in Montvale, New Jersey, Balchem Corp. is a leading global producer of nutrition and health products for animal and human consumption and employs more than 1,400 people worldwide.
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.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Labor