Recently, a Connecticut company was fined for violating hazardous waste management laws after the Environmental Protection Agency inspected its chemical distribution facility and warehouse. Hubbard-Hall formulates and distributes more than 5,000 chemicals out of its facility in Waterbury and another location in Wilmington, Massachusetts. The company was fined $111,290 ¨C $63,200 for concerns from its Waterbury facility and $48,090 from Wilmington.
The EPA New England office has levied enforcement actions against 13 companies who have violated the Clean Air Act and distribute or warehouse chemicals. Companies that handle hazardous chemicals must comply with federal laws, not just OSHA Process Safety Management regulations for chemicals.
Hubbard-Hall stored chemicals that were incompatible very close together, and the EPA noted that if they were to spill or be released a violent chemical reaction could cause an explosion or fire. If this were to occur, the public and the environment could be seriously harmed. Hubbard-Hall also did not have a risk management plan in use at either of its locations. When large quantities of chemicals such as very concentrated hydrofluoric acid are stored, these RMP plans are a must.
RMP plans also help to outline how employees can prevent chemical releases and store chemicals properly. The RMP explains the risks with specific chemicals a company uses and can assist emergency responders when an accidental release occurs. Prior to the early February fine, the EPA had issued both Hubbard-Hall locations with administrative orders for violating RMP regulations and the Clean Air Act’s General Duty Clause.
Facilities that store or distribute chemicals must comply with the following regulations:
− Must stay at or below federal regulatory thresholds for chemical inventories
− Containment systems must be in good condition, in a stable way, and aisle space must be adequate for emergency responders
− Incompatible chemicals must be properly separated
− Facilities must be designed for safety with proper fire protections
− Inspections that occur on a routine basis to verify the integrity of chemical tanks
− Report chemical inventories via a Tier II Chemical Inventory Report to state authorities, local emergency planning departments, and the local fire department with jurisdiction over the facility
Serious injuries, environmental hazards and industrial accidents can happen when companies fail to take the necessary steps to maintain a safe environment. Not only could this affect workers, but toxic gases could hurt innocent people that need legal representation to uphold their rights and heal from extensive injuries.
Alexandra Reed writes for Connecticut personal injury law firm, Stratton Faxon. Contact Stratton Faxon to speak with a Connecticut accident lawyer about your personal injury, wrongful death, or Connecticut malpractice case. To learn more, visit Strattonfaxon.com.