UpdateBayer denies allegations of violations at Baytown plant

18 July 2013 20:22  [Source: ICIS news]

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HOUSTON (ICIS)--Bayer MaterialSicence denied many of the allegations that a workplace regulator made regarding a release of methylenedianiline (MDA) from its complex in Baytown, Texas, the company said on Thursday.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed fining Bayer $89,000 (€68,000) for four alleged safety violations.

MDA is used to make methyl di-p-phenylene isocyanate (MDI).

Bayer said the proposed citations were connected to a 15 January release of MDA.

The MDA was released at a railcar loading facility when a gasket failed, Bayer said.

No one was injured, and there is no evidence that any employee was exposed to any chemical nor that any chemical was left at the Baytown complex, the company said.

Bayer said it "strongly disagrees" with many of OSHA's allegations. Moreover, it disagrees with any suggestion that Bayer willfully violated any of the regulator's standards.

Bayer plans to negotiate with OSHA to resolve the matter, it said.

OSHA proposed the $89,000 fine following an inspection, which began in January after the regulator received a complaint, it said.

In one violation, OSHA had accused Bayer of failing to establish regulated areas where workers' skin could be exposed to MDA, it said. Also, OSHA alleged that Bayer failed to establish a procedure under which workers would be alerted about possible exposure to MDA during a release of the material.

Also, OSHA accused Bayer of failing to implement portions of an emergency plan that addressed when MDA escaped from containment.

OSHA also alleged that Bayer did not ensure that workers wore appropriate clothing and used the right equipment to prevent contact with MDA.

Finally, Bayer did not start a programme that would check for spills of MDA, OSHA alleged.

After the company receives the citations, it has 15 days to respond, OSHA said. Bayer can pay the fine, request a meeting with the regulator or challenge the findings.

($1 = €0.76)

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By: Al Greenwood
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