Phenix City insulation plant faces $41,800 fine from OSHA

A Phenix City insulation manufacturing plant faces a $41,800 fine for failing to protect employees from hazardous chemicals.

The U.S. Department of Labor said Tuesday that its Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed a fine of $41,800 for separate violations stemming from a complaint in January at the Industrial Insulation Group facility, 908 John Bussey Drive, in Phenix City.

The agency said the plant’s management failed to properly protect workers from several caustic chemicals, including one called “gamma-aminopropyltriethoxysilane,” which can be harmful to eyes, skin and kidneys.

That chemical is part of a “repeat violation,” OSHA said, with a similar incident being cited at the same facility in February 2013. Workers were not given a place to wash the chemical from their bodies, such as a wash station or shower, the agency said. That violation comprises $27,500 of the proposed $41,800 penalty.

Three other violations amounted to $14,300 in fines, OSHA said, again for not giving employees a place to wash off formaldehyde used in the manufacturing process. The agency also said the plant did not offer health and safety training to staffers, while also putting them in danger from moving parts at the plant.

Industrial Insulation Group, or IIG, is based in Brunswick, Ga. The company did not return calls for comment left Tuesday at its office.Joseph Roesler, area director with OSHA’s office in Mobile, Ala., in a statement, expressed frustration with the safety violations, particularly the repeated nature of them.

“It is troubling to know that while this employer initially corrected the hazard after OSHA issued a previous citation, it did not maintain the necessary safety standards,” he said. “Although this employer knew to provide eye wash and a shower for employees working with caustic chemicals, it continued to expose workers to the same hazard.”

IIG makes a variety of industrial products, including pipe, insulation, board, blankets, adhesives and cement.

The Phenix City operation, located in the Brickyard Road area, formerly was known as Johns Manville. That company merged with The Calsilite Group in 2002 to form Industrial Insulation Group. It was about that time that the company announced plans to open in Phenix City, employing 150 people.

OSHA said the company has 15 days from receiving official notification of the violations to correct them, meet with Roesler, or seek an appeal through an OSHA commission.

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