OSHA recently proposed fines of more than $200,000 against a food company for 17 alleged violations of workplace health and safety standards at the company's Northeastern seafood processing plant. The company was mainly cited for a failure to address deficiencies in its anhydrous ammonia piping system used for freezing.

OSHA's inspection found that the company did not properly inspect and test the piping system, which was corroded and encased in ice in many locations. Also, it did not correct previously identified deficiencies in the system. For these conditions, OSHA has issued the company two willful citations, carrying $140,000 in proposed fines. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for worker safety and health.

OSHA also determined that the plant failed to label and identify piping systems, remove frost and ice accumulations from piping, properly locate relief valves, ensure that the main ammonia shutoff valve was accessible, inspect and test the mechanical integrity of process equipment, provide workers with hand protection, and make process safety information available.

These conditions resulted in nine serious citations, with $44,500 in fines. OSHA issues serious citations when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known.

Do you have ammonia in your facility? If so, are you in compliance with the ammonia standard?

KellerOnline offers a wealth of information that might be of use to you. The Topic Index covers both Ammonia and Anhydrous Ammonia. Within each topic you will find ez Explanations, News & Alerts, links to the Regulations themselves, and OSHA Letters of Interpretation. You'll also find Labeling Requirements, Training Requirements, as well as access to related training tools.

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