The U.S. Department of Labor announced it has secured a settlement agreement with Bostik Inc. to resolve litigation stemming from citations issued by the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for safety violations following a March 2011 explosion.

According to the announcement, OSHA cited Bostik in September after a six-month investigation found numerous violations of the agency’s process safety management standard, which is a detailed set of requirements and procedures that employers must follow to proactively address hazards associated with processes and equipment involving large amounts of hazardous chemicals. In this case, the chemical was acetone, which was used in a PSM standard-covered process known as direct solvation.

The Labor Department reports that Bostik has taken and continues to take corrective action to address deficiencies in its PSM program and enhance the program’s effectiveness, and also agrees to submit proof of abatement to OSHA. Bostik paid a fine of $600,000 and is no longer using the direct solvation process at the Middleton facility. OSHA originally proposed $917,000 in fines.

“This resolution speeds corrective action that might otherwise have been delayed through lengthy litigation,” said Michael Felsen, the Labor Department’s regional solicitor in Boston.

“Just as important, the settlement commits Bostik to strengthening its PSM program to prevent the possibility of a similar incident in the future, and to apprise us of its progress in abating the hazards,” said Jeffrey A. Erskine, OSHA’s area director for northeastern Massachusetts.

The explosion was investigated by OSHA’s Andover Area Office, and the case was litigated by the Labor Department’s Regional Office of the Solicitor in Boston.


1 Comment

  1. Workplace safety regulations are in place for a reason. When a job site isn’t up to code, that’s when accidents happen and the employer is often held accountable. Employers have a right to a safe working environment.

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