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Manufacturer gets OSHA fine after safety violations

Posted on by SST

After a number of safety regulation violations were discovered after an explosion and fire that led to serious injuries for three of Fox Valley Systems employees, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed a $262,000 fine, placing the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

The Crystal Lake Patch reported that Fox Valley Systems facility located on 640 Industrial Road in Cary, Ill., experienced an explosion and fire that blew out one of building's walls on March 6, 2013. The company makes products for paint marking and striping, utilizing aerosol cans. The explosion sent three employees to the hospital with serious injuries as well as caused the evacuation of nearly 25 businesses located nearby.

Safety concerns
After the explosion, the state filed a three-count lawsuit against Fox Valley Systems to close the plant until the cause of the explosion was determined. The Illinois Attorney General's office alleged substantial danger to air and water resources nearby – with pollution concerns – as well as general environmental danger. In addition, McHenry County officials ordered the company to present a comprehensive analysis of the event, as well as a detailed plan for re-opening the facility. The county also required the company to secure the compromised facility, The Courier-News reported. 

"In part, workers were injured in this tragic explosion because they could not get out quickly because of blocked exit doors," said Nick Walters, regional administrator for OSHA in Chicago. "This is unacceptable for any business, and especially for one handling hazardous materials and chemicals daily. OSHA is committed to ensuring best work practices to prevent endangering the safety and health of workers."

Some of the facilities exit doors were either blocked, latched from outside our stopped with snow, preventing employees from leaving the building. This, among other safety violations, were found to be willful neglect of safety standards, including other serious violations involving an emergency action plan, a fire alarm system and inadequate storage of chemicals such as flammable liquids. 

In addition to the 26 safety violations, the company was found to have 11 other violations that OSHA found in Fox Valley Systems' cart manufacturing and paint striping operations located within the same facility as the March explosion. The new violations amount to an additional $22,800 in penalties. 

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