The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Croda for 25 serious violations it says were found following last November's release of ethylene oxide from its New Castle plant.
The incident led to one worker being hospitalized and several others being affected by the exposure. It also closed the Delaware Memorial Bridge for hours on one of the busiest travel days of the year - the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
OSHA also is proposing penalties of $262,548 in penalties against Croda. Croda is being cited for 25 serious violations, including "deficient emergency action and response plans, failure to train employees on how to manage EtO leaks, and use of fire protection, water deluge systems, and emergency shutdown procedures." OSHA also said Croda "failed to develop procedures for emergency responders to manage firewater amid an EtO release, activate the emergency alarm system, and provide employees with respiratory protection."
According to the agency, Croda is working with OSHA on a settlement and has requested an informal conference.
"This incident could have been prevented if the employer had taken appropriate precautions," OSHA Area Director Erin Patterson said. "By failing to follow well-known safety and health procedures and provide training, they risked the health of their workers."
Croda released the following statement late Tuesday:
"At Croda, we strive to foster a safe work environment that complies with all OSHA requirements. We have recently received a citation letter from OSHA, we met informally with them to discuss the series of citations and proposed penalties, and we are reviewing its contents to determine our next steps. We are committed to being a responsible business, and we will do all we can to ensure the safety and well-being of our team at all times."