Frozen food product manufacturer Rosina Food Products Inc. is facing fines of $54,750 for nine serious violations of workplace safety standards at its West Seneca, NY, production facility, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The inspection, which began in September, identified several deficiencies in the plant’s process safety management program, a detailed set of requirements and procedures employers must follow to proactively address hazards associated with processes and equipment involving large amounts of hazardous chemicals.
In this case, the process is the operation and maintenance of the plant’s refrigeration system and the chemical is anhydrous ammonia, used in the refrigeration system.
“The stringent and comprehensive requirements of OSHA’s process safety management standard are designed to prevent catastrophic incidents, such as the uncontrolled release of highly hazardous chemicals, including ammonia,” said Arthur Dube, OSHA’s area director for western New York. “This requires full, effective and proactive adherence to the standard’s requirements by the employer.”
In this case, OSHA’s Buffalo Area Office found the plant lacked effective standard operating procedures for all emergency shutdown procedures of the refrigeration system, necessary corrective actions identified during hazard analyses of the refrigeration process, clear instructions for safely conducting refrigeration procedures, written procedures to maintain the ongoing mechanical integrity of all equipment used in the refrigeration process, and procedures for handling small releases of anhydrous ammonia.
In addition, the inspection found all required safety testing did not take place. The plant did not develop specific procedures for locking out machines to prevent their unintended startup during servicing, did not inspect such procedures, and did not use group lockout/tagout procedures as required. 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.
“One method of enhancing workers’ safety is developing and maintaining an effective illness and injury prevention program in which management and employees work together to identify and prevent hazardous conditions,” said Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional administrator in New York.