Seaboard Foods LLC is facing $51,000 in fines for seven serious citations related to the process safety management of the ammonia refrigeration systems used in its production process in Guymon, OK, according to officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The targeted inspection, which began October, was a part of OSHA’s National Emphasis Program on chemicals, and focuses on OSHA’s Process Safety Management standards containing specific requirements for preventing or minimizing the consequences of catastrophic releases of highly hazardous chemicals.

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“The safety of a worker’s skin, eyes and lungs should never be taken lightly,” said David Bates, OSHA’s area director in Oklahoma City. “Anhydrous ammonia is corrosive and if it’s not properly controlled it puts workers at risk. Employers who deal with highly hazardous chemicals like these have a responsibility to implement effective process safety management programs, because the release of toxic, reactive or flammable liquids and gases can be catastrophic.”

Seaboard Foods, a pork-processing facility, operates two anhydrous ammonia refrigeration systems. Some of the violations cited include failing to:
• Provide written operating procedures addressing safety systems and function
• Develop and implement safe work practices to control hazards during operations
• Train workers involved with operating procedures involving the anhydrous ammonia process
• Inspect and test process equipment to maintain its mechanical integrity

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Three violations are for fall, electrical and machine guarding hazards. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

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