To make ice products at Arctic Glacier U.S.A. Inc.’s Hicksville, NY, facility, the company uses large amounts of anhydrous ammonia in the plant’s refrigeration system.
When working with large amounts of hazardous chemicals such as ammonia, an employer must have a comprehensive and effective program in place for their safe management and the protection of its workers.
After an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Arctic Glacier is facing $67,000 in fines for one repeat and seven serious violations of workplace safety standards when investigators found deficiencies in the plant’s Process Safety Management program.
Uncorrected, these deficiencies could have serious consequences for the plant’s employees.
OSHA’s inspection found the plant failed to:
1. Document equipment used in the refrigeration system complied with recognized and generally accepted engineering practices
2. Conduct a pre-startup safety review following modifications to the refrigeration system
3. Implement procedures for controlling an outside contractor’s access to process areas
4. Evaluate an outside contractor’s safety and health programs
“An uncontrolled release of anhydrous ammonia can have catastrophic and lethal consequences. To prevent a tragedy, it is vital that Arctic Glacier ensure that all requirements for the safe operation and management of its refrigeration system are complete, up-to-date and effective,” said Anthony Ciuffo, OSHA’s Long Island Area Director.
Other hazards identified during OSHA’s inspection included:
• Lack of weatherproof covers on circuit breakers in wet locations
• Spliced and uninsulated power cords
• An exposed electrical switch
• Unmarked exits (OSHA cited Arctic Glacier for similar exit hazards at its Mamaroneck location in February 2013)