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OSHA cites Seeler Industries for safety, health violations

Chemical storage company disputes agency's findings

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014 11:19 p.m. CST • Updated: Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014 11:23 p.m. CST

JOLIET – A Joliet chemical storage, handling and distribution company faces $143,400 in penalties from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 19 safety and health violations – findings the company disputes.

In its most serious citation, OSHA maintained Seeler Industries, 1 Genstar Lane, willfully failed to train its employees on the appropriate handling and safe use of hazardous chemicals.

“Workers have the right to know what workplace chemicals they are exposed to and to be protected against exposure, which can have severe health effects,” said Kathy Webb, OSHA’s area director in Calumet City. “Mishandling chemicals can result in catastrophic fires and explosions. It is the employer’s responsibility to protect workers from these hazards.”

OSHA’s investigation also found Seeler Industries did not implement engineering controls to reduce employee exposure and failed to label containers with information that identified and warned of the hazardous chemicals contained inside. Workers were exposed to quantities of chemicals greater than the OSHA permissible exposure limit.

Seeler also was cited for failing to provide guardrails and a sanitary work environment, for not following respiratory protection standards, and for not training workers on confined space requirements, use of personal protective equipment and proper operation of industrial vehicles.

OSHA also cited the company for lack of lock/tagout procedures to protect workers operating dangerous machinery and for exposing workers to live electricity by failing to shut down equipment during service and maintenance.

Seeler is disputing OSHA’s findings.

“We did receive them and we are disputing them,” said Glenn Gibisch, company president. “We do have a quality safety program here and we do protect our employees.”

OSHA inspected the company’s 3 Rivers Terminal in Joliet on Feb. 4.

Seeler is a distributor of various grades and strengths of hydrogen peroxide, acids, caustic, glycols and other specialty chemicals, according to the company’s website. Its 123-acre site also provides storage, transfer and packaging services to the chemical industry for both bulk liquid and dry chemicals in truck, rail and barge quantities.

KNOW MORE

OSHA’s citations can be found at www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/SeelerIndustriesSafetyCitations-966089.pdf and www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/SeelerIndustriesHealthCitations-957322.pdf.

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