Oakdale facility cited for safety, health violations

(Source: MGN Online)
(Source: MGN Online)

OAKDALE, LA (KPLC) - Natural Advantage, a flavoring manufacturer in Oakdale, La., has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The citations include 19 health and safety violations, and proposed penalties add up to $91,000.

Among the violations were: overexposure to methylene chloride, overexposure to airborne concentrations of methyl mercaptan, failure to evaluate respiratory hazards and provide workers with appropriate respirators, failure to provide training on flammable liquids and substances, failure to properly store and dispense flammable liquids and water-reactive agents, and failure to maintain airborne concentrations of methylene chloride and keep them below exposure limits.

The company was also cited for failure to provide an emergency response plan as well as access to an emergency shower for potential exposure to sodium hydroxide and propionic acid, failure to make medical surveillance available and failure to implement procedures to detect chemical leaks.

The OSHA Inspection Detail report is available HERE.

"Natural Advantage violated various OSHA standards that, when followed, can protect workers from exposure to hazardous chemicals," said Dorinda Folse, OSHA's area director in Baton Rouge, in a news release. "Employers must find and fix hazards to ensure the safety and well-being of their workforce."

"The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's Baton Rouge area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission," said OSHA in a news release.

Natural Advantage employs approximately 90 workers. It began as a research laboratory and expanded into a manufacturing facility for food and drink flavorings. Natural advantage operates a second production facility in Lakeland, Fla.

In 2013, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality investigated complaints by citizens of odors coming from the plant. The investigation found that no state or federal health violations were being violated. More information on that study is available HERE.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Baton Rouge Area Office at 225-298-5458.

For more information on OSHA standards and regulations, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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