The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently cited Rosina Food Products Inc. with nine serious violations of workplace safety standards at its production facility in West Seneca, N.Y. The manufacturer of frozen-food products faces a proposed penalty of $54,750.

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 was the operation and maintenance of the plant’s refrigeration system. The chemical was anhydrous ammonia, which is 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."

OSHA's Buffalo-area office discovered that 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 that all required safety testing was not performed. The plant also had not developed or inspected specific procedures for locking out machines to prevent their unintended startup during servicing and had not used group lockout/tagout procedures as required.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director or contest the findings to the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.