Environmental Enterprises has been cited with 22 safety and health violations from an investigation by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The violations are the result of a sodium chlorate fire and explosion at the company’s Cincinnati, Ohio waste treatment facility. The investigation occurred December 28, 2012.
Environmental Enterprises specializes in industrial and hazardous waste management, emergency response, and chemical packing according to the company’s official website. Environmental Enterprises was founded in 1976 and is considered a forerunner in areas such as waste treatment and storage, disposal of hazardous waste as well as environmental, health, and safety services.
Two Environmental Enterprises employees were seriously burned in the fire. One of the individuals died. OSHA concluded the fire was linked to the exploding of an organic industrial filter cartridge filled with sodium chlorate. The company received four willful violations, nine serious safety violations, and seven health violations related to the fire incident. Environmental Enterprises was placed in the severe violator enforcement program as a result of the four willful violations. Some of the violations included neglecting to develop and implement hazardous waste handling procedures, failing to educate and provide protective equipment for employees assigned to work on energized circuits, and causing a fire by using electrical equipment near a flammable storage room with sodium chlorate.
Sodium Chlorate is an odorless white crystalline solid. It is considered a harmful chemical by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The chemical is commonly used as a bleaching and oxidizing agent. Sodium chlorate is highly flammable and is also an irritant. Contact with the chemical can cause symptoms such as upset stomach, dizziness, breathing complications, and skin and eye irritations.
Environmental Enterprises ignored employee safety and health according to an OSHA director. OSHA’s corrective actions toward Environmental Enterprises reflect the agency’s commitment to promoting employee health and safety in the workforce.