On November 20, 2017, an explosion rocked the Verla International cosmetics plant in New Windsor, New York. The blast injured 125 workers, hospitalized eight firefighters, and killed 57-year-old William Huntington.
The explosion was started by a spark generated when an employee wiped the residue of a flammable chemical from atop a tank as the highly flammable chemical called hexamethyldisiloxane (HMDZ) was being drained out of a blue barrel.
The accident is the reason Verla made it onto the National Council of Occupational Safety and Health's annual Dirty Dozen list of the worst employers when it comes to putting workers and communities at risk.
Last week, OSHA hit the company with proposed fines totaling $281,220. OSHA says that Verla failed to protect its employees from dangerous chemicals and other hazards, which is clear from the video.
OSHA cited the company for 11 violations after its investigation found failures to prevent flammable vapors from igniting, proper disposal of flammable materials, and a lack of an emergency response plan.
According to Robert Garvery, OSHA'a Albany Area Office Director, the company was cited for similar violations in 2013.
Senator Charles Schumer called out Verla as a "repeat offender.”
“We know these violations were deemed ‘serious,’" Schumer said, "and we know that some of these sloppy and dangerous workplace conditions contributed to the spread of the fire.”