US chem waste firm plans to contest latest citations

05 January 2010 20:59  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--US chemical-waste firm CES Environmental Services (CES) plans to contest $1.47m (€1.01m) in proposed penalties from a regulator, a move that drew no comment on Tuesday from the government agency.

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 a fatal July 2009 blast.

The explosion killed a CES employee who was cleaning a tank containing flammable vapours. The vapours were ignited by an altered piece of equipment, OSHA said.

CES does not believe the proposed fines are justified, and the company plans to contest them vigorously, according to a statement issued on behalf of the company by CeCe Cohen.

"CES works diligently to ensure the safety of its many employees in Houston and Port Arthur," Cohen said in the statement. "It is a shame that overzealous regulators are continuing to harass a business that has done its best to provide an essential industrial service here in Houston."

The July blast marked 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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