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Hudson Valley Cosmetics Company Fined Nearly $300K For Fatal Fire

The deadly fire at the Verla International cosmetics plant in New Windsor.
The deadly fire at the Verla International cosmetics plant in New Windsor. Photo Credit: Jeff Babcock Facebook

A Hudson Valley cosmetic company is facing almost $300,000 in fines for failing to protect its employees from dangerous chemicals, and other hazards on the day a fire tore through its New Windsor factory, killing one, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Verla International LTD is facing $281,220 in fines following an investigation into the Nov. 20, explosion in which a Newburgh man was killed and another 125 employees and first responders injured.

According to a release from OSHA, the company was cited for 11 violations for fall, and compressed air hazards, and for failing to ensure proper electrical grounding and bonding to prevent flammable vapors from igniting; properly dispose of flammable materials; develop and implement an emergency response plan; provide employees with first responder awareness level training; and record a workplace fatality in its OSHA 300 illness and injury log.

“An employer’s adherence to safety and health standards, including the proper and safe transfer of flammable liquids, is critical to preventing fire, explosions, and other incidents that can seriously or fatally injure workers,” said OSHA Albany Area Office Director Robert Garvey, who also noted that OSHA cited the company in 2013 for similar violations.

Verla has 15 business days to either pay the fines, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings, the statement said.

William Huntington, 57, of Newburgh, was killed in the explosion and following inferno that left at least 125 injured, including seven City of Newburgh firemen.

More than 100 firefighters helped battle the flames started by the explosions for more than 15 hours, officials said.

Orange County fire officials ruled the fire accidental and found it began when static electricity ignited a flammable liquid in the manufacturing area.

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