US chem waste firm may be fined $1.47m on July '09 blast

05 January 2010 02:01  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--US chemical-waste firm CES Environmental Services (CES) faces penalties totalling $1.47m (€1.01m) on a fatal explosion at its site in Houston that occured in July 2009, a regulator said on Monday.

The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said it has issued 17 citations against CES, adding the company had 54 violations based on an investigation conducted on the blast.

A CES employee cleaning a tank containing flammable vapours was killed in the explosion. An altered piece of equipment ignited the vapours and caused the blast, OSHA said.

After receiving the citations, CES will have 15 business days to comply with or contest the findings. CES could also request an informal conference with OSHA's area director.

A press contact for CES was not immediately available for comment.

It was the third death in less than a year at a CES facility, OSHA said. Two other people died on separate occasions from exposure to hydrogen sulphide at a related facility, Port Arthur Chemical and Environmental Services in Port Arthur, Texas.

OSHA had proposed $224,000 in penalties in connection to those deaths, it said. CES was contesting the citations connected to those penalties.

($1 = €0.69)

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By: Al Greenwood
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