HIGH SPRINGS ‒ Air Liquide Advanced Materials, Inc., is facing a six-figure Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) penalty following a workplace explosion according to industrial safety and training organization, Safety.BLR.

OSHA announced on Nov. 16 that, “Air Liquide Advanced Materials, Inc., of High Springs, a global manufacturer of industrial gas, faces $201,573 in penalties following a May 2023 explosion that severely injured several employees.” According to their report OSHA found that, “The employer could have prevented the accident by following required operating procedures in the manufacturing process.”

After the explosion, OSHA investigators conducted an inspection at the manufacturing site where “diborane — a toxic, colorless, and pyrophoric gas — is produced, distilled, mixed, and transferred.”

“Inspectors determined that the explosion occurred as a 25-year-old product technician used a heat gun to transfer gas from an aluminum source cylinder to a steel cylinder. The technician was flown to a trauma center and treated for brain injuries, third-degree burns, and a leg amputation. Four other workers suffered various injuries and were treated at the hospital.”

According to Safety.BLR, OSHA cited Air Liquide for “willfully exposing workers to fire and explosion hazards by requiring them to use equipment intrinsically unsafe in the presence of flammable chemicals and vapors.”

OSHA also cited the employer for 12 serious violations for the following failures:

“Not containing safe upper and lower limits for temperatures, pressures and flows, and thermal and chemical stability data on the process safety information documents;

Failing to conduct a process hazard analysis to adequately address hazards related to impure or contaminated materials produced in mixing and reaction processes;

Not retaining and addressing hazard analysis recommendations promptly and tracking resolutions;

Failing to address requirements for the operating limits specified for cylinder temperatures in written operating procedures;

Not removing equipment in hazardous locations with ignitable or combustible properties of specific dust, fibers, gases, or vapors present; and

Not properly classifying buildings as process safety management sites and documenting that equipment complied with recognized good engineering practices.”

In an agency statement, OSHA’s Jacksonville area office director Scott Tisdale said, “By putting production ahead of safety, Air Liquide Advanced Materials altered a young worker’s life permanently. Our investigation found the company worked to increase productivity at its High Springs facility but failed to employ safety measures required for the production of a toxic chemical, diborane.”

#     #     #

Email cwalker@