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Air Liquide fined $77,000 for health and safety violations

In the US, federal authorities have fined a Texas-based steam methane reformer (SMR) plant $77,000 (appr. €70,000) for “wilful, serious violations” for safety failures that exposed workers to health dangers.

The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) initiated in late January an inspection of gas producer Air Liquide’s Corpus Christi plant following a complaint of unsafe working conditions.

The agency cited Air Liquide for failing to perform air monitoring to assess employee exposure to carbon monoxide gas and for failing to protect workers from a potentially hazardous atmosphere created by inadequately maintained valves found leaking within the pressure swing adsorption skid.

"Air Liquide is a large, multinational organisation with vast holdings but it chooses to ignore simple processes to keep its employees safe," said Travis Clark, OSHA's area director in the Corpus Christi office. "Carbon monoxide can be deadly if it is not controlled and monitored closely."

Company ‘strongly disagrees’

The gas processing company has released a statement in reply to the citations, saying that it recognises but intends to dispute them.

"The health, safety and security of our employees, and the communities in which we operate, is the foundation of Air Liquide's business. We have fully cooperated with OSHA and have provided all information requested of us to date,” the company said.

“While Air Liquide is aware of two citations issued by OSHA, we strongly disagree with the findings and conclusions contained in the citations. As a result, we expect we will exercise our right to vigorously contest these citations, with the intent to have them vacated.​"

Paris, France-headquartered Air Liquide has more than 50,000 employees in 80 countries and the company is the largest supplier of industrial gases by revenues worldwide.