OSHA Cites Biofuel Company Over Hydrogen Gas Explosion

GEISMAR, LA (AP) — The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has fined a Geismar biodiesel plant $70,000 and has cited a biofuels company over a September hydrogen gas explosion.

         The Advocate’s David J. Mitchell reports that OSHA also cited Renewable Energy Group, an Iowa-based biofuels producer, on Thursday with three willful safety violations over the company's alleged failure to ensure that a flammable chemical was no longer in a plant pipeline that was under repair.

         An OSHA field operations manual states that a willful violation means a company demonstrated disregard or indifference to employee safety.

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         REG spokesman Anthony Hulen says the company disagrees with OSHA's findings and the classification of the citation. Hulen says the company will contest the citation. OSHA officials were not available for comment.

         The Sept. 3 explosion injured four workers.

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