Tampa Electric Co. and Critical Intervention Services, a security services provider, is facing a fine of $43,458 after a release of anhydrous ammonia – a chemical refrigerant – at its Gibsonton, FL, facility, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

OSHA investigators responded to the May 23 incident and determined the ammonia release occurred when a relief valve activated after a pipeline became over pressurized. As a result, four workers ended up at the hospital for observation and released.

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OSHA issued Tampa Electric two serious citations for failing to include all the minimum requirements in their emergency response plan and not ensuring employees exposed to hazardous substances wore appropriate respiratory protection. The Agency also issued the power company a Hazard Alert Letter with recommendations to mitigate asphyxiation hazards.

The investigation also led to citations for Critical Intervention Services, which received two serious violations or not developing or implementing a written hazard communication program, and failing to provide information and training on hazardous chemicals in the workplace.

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“When there is a potential hazardous chemical exposure, the emergency response plan must include all of the minimum safety and health requirements, including appropriate respiratory protection for employees,” said OSHA Area Director Les Grove, in Tampa.

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