Chemical Hazards bring Safety Fines

Monday, December 17, 2012 @ 04:12 PM gHale


Five Star Custom Foods Ltd. faces 25 serious safety and health violations and subcontractor Packers Sanitation Services Inc. faces two serious safety violations for exposing workers to hazardous chemicals at the company’s facility on East First Street in Forth Worth, TX, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

In all, the penalties total $134,000 for the two Fort Worth, TX, companies. OSHA officials opened an investigation June 12 under the agency’s national emphasis program on process safety management (PSM) for covered chemical facilities. Investigators found that employees, while conducting operations in the facility’s refrigeration system, suffered exposure to the catastrophic release of toxic and corrosive chemicals.

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“Exposing employees to highly hazardous chemicals, such as anhydrous ammonia, can be fatal,” said Jack Rector, the agency’s area director in Fort Worth. “OSHA’s standards must be followed to prevent accidents and illnesses.”

Fourteen serious violations involve failing to ensure equipment related to the process complied with recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices; recommendations in the process hazard analysis were processed; standard operating procedures were annually certified; an ammonia detector system was provided; contract employees were aware of the potential of fire and/or toxic release hazards; and the company conducted compliance audits at least every three years.

An additional 11 safety violations involve failing to develop machine-specific lockout/tagout procedures for the control of hazardous energy; maintain work areas free of slip, trip and fall hazards; keep exit areas unobstructed; and to address electrical wiring deficiencies. 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.

OSHA cited Packers Sanitation Services, which provides janitorial services, with two serious safety violations involving the failure to train employees to work with hazardous chemicals and not providing safety data sheets.



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