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The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Arctic Glacier Inc. of Fairport, N.Y., for 20 alleged serious violations of OSHA health and safety standards. The ice manufacturer faces $90,000 in proposed fines for incomplete or inadequate safeguards for its refrigeration system and other hazards at its 900 Turk Hill Road plant.
The bulk of the citations cover deficiencies in the plant's process safety management (PSM) program. OSHA's PSM standard mandates a detailed set of requirements and procedures employers must follow to proactively assess and address hazards associated with processes involving the use of more than 10,000 pounds of a hazardous chemical, in this case ammonia, in the plant's refrigeration system.
"Process safety management demands constant, effective attention and commitment because the consequences of a leak or other incident can be severe and catastrophic," said Arthur Dube, OSHA's area director in Buffalo. "While it's fortunate no accident occurred, safeguarding employees against death or serious injury cannot and must never be left to chance."
OSHA's inspection found: that all plant employees had not been informed about the plant's PSM plan and updates to its emergency response plan; incomplete process hazard analyses and follow through; no means of verifying employees' PSM training; infrequent and incomplete inspections and testing of process equipment; lack of proper procedures to manage process changes; incomplete responses to process compliance audits; and a lack of oversight and information to contract employees working in process areas.
OSHA also identified hazards associated with fork trucks, including untrained employees and the loading of a 6,950-pound fork truck onto an elevator with a weight capacity of only 4,000 pounds; inadequate or unmarked emergency exit routes; unguarded open-sided floors; an unguarded wrapping machine; and use of an electric heater in a battery charging area.
A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Buffalo Area Office; telephone 716-551-3053.
Detailed information about OSHA's PSM standard and ammonia refrigeration is available online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/processsafetymanagement/index.html and http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/ammoniarefrigeration/index.html.