News Release

US Department of Labor cites Columbus chemical company for exposing workers to host of safety hazards at manufacturing facility

OSHA cites HPPE LLC for serious citations, proposes $136K in penalties

COLUMBUS, GA – HPPE LLC must meet exacting standards to manufacture pharmaceutical-related products, but an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has found serious hazards that could impact the safety and health of its employees.

After completing a safety and health inspection, OSHA issued numerous serious citations and a repeat-serious citation to HPPE LLC for exposing workers to more than a dozen hazards at its Columbus chemical manufacturing facility. The inspection was also conducted under OSHA’s Regional Emphasis Program for Powered Industrial Trucks.  The investigation found the employer failed to do the following:

  • Provide hazard communication program training to employees working with chemicals.
  • Establish or implement a written confined space program for workers who enter tanks and/or vats.
  • Provide employees working with chemicals with emergency means for flushing eyes and the body.
  • Display labels on containers that store chemicals.
  • Train workers operating powered industrial trucks and repair damaged storage racks with bent and damaged supports.
  • Keep doorways unlocked, marked and illuminated properly as exits, and keep doorways free of obstruction.
  • Provide guarding and other fall protection systems or training for employees working from elevated platforms and near open pits to prevent them from falling.
  • Train workers on procedures for isolating energy sources on machines while performing repair work.

OSHA proposed $136,816 in penalties following the investigation.

In 2018, an OSHA inspection at HPPE LLC led to citations for its failure to provide workers handling chemicals with appropriate personal protective equipment and not training employees on safety data sheets.

“HPPE LLC must take workplace safety and health more seriously and take greater responsibility for protecting their workers,” said OSHA Area Director Jeffery Stawowy in Atlanta-West. “OSHA safety and health standards are not optional. They are legally required and intended to protect every worker’s right to a safe workplace.”

Based in Columbus, HPPE LLC specializes in manufacturing dextran, dextran sulfate and endotoxin-free spray-dried biopolymers. The company markets and distributes its products to commercial consumers in the agriculture and biomedical industries. HPPE LLC also began producing hand sanitizer due to the coronavirus pandemic.

OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard requires employers to ensure information about the identities and hazards of the chemicals they use are available and understandable to workers. Read more about HCS on OSHA’s Hazard Communication webpage.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthy workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s workers by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. Learn more about OSHA.

Occupational Safety & Health Administration
May 20, 2021
Release Number
Media Contact: Eric R. Lucero
Phone Number
Media Contact: Erika Ruthman
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