Region 3 News Release: III-01-01-22-007-PA
Mon., Jan. 22, 2001
Contact: Leni Uddyback-Fortson
PHONE: OFFICE: (215) 861-5102
OSHA CITES DENVER, PA COMPANY FOR ALLEGED SAFETY & HEALTH VIOLATIONS; MORE THAN $230,000 PROPOSED IN PENALTIES
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Acme Lancaster Distribution Center, Denver, Pa, for alleged safety and health violations, proposing a total of $232,000 in penalties. The company operates a warehouse distribution center that ships products to Acme/Alberton's grocery stores, and employs 970 workers at its Denver, Pa. site.
OSHA initiated its inspection on July 16, 2000 in response to a complaint. According to Bob Fink, area director of the Harrisburg OSHA office, the company was cited for four willful violations, which carry a proposed penalty of $170,000; one repeat violation with a proposed penalty of $12,500; 20 serious violations, with a proposed penalty of $48,500; and seven other-than-serious violations, with a proposed penalty of $1,000.
The willful violations are due to deficiencies in the company's process safety management program, involving its ammonia refrigeration system. Ammonia can be extremely hazardous if inadvertently released and may cause severe respiratory disorders and death.
The repeat violation is due to a lack of company forklift training for workers. The
serious violations include:
- several additional deficiencies regarding the operation of the ammonia refrigeration system
- lack of an emergency response plan for potential ammonia leaks
- lack of first aid responders
- fire extinguisher violations
- confined space entry program deficiencies
- lack of fall protection and safety shoes
- improper storage and handling of materials
- company's failure to train employees on chemical hazards and precautions
Other-than-serious violations address:
- forklift deficiencies
- deficiencies in company respirator program
- lock out/tag out program deficiencies
- record keeping deficiencies
"Acme Lancaster Distribution Center has disregarded employees' safety and health by not developing an adequate Process Safety Management program for its ammonia refrigeration system," says Fink. "Employees were not sufficiently trained on the safe operation of the system, or on what to do in the event of a catastrophic ammonia release."
Willful violations are those committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. A serious violation involves a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to decide to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director or to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the Independent Occupational Safety and Heath Review Commission.
The inspection was conducted by the Harrisburg area office, Progress Plaza, 49 North Progress Avenue, Harrisburg, Pa. 17109-3596, telephone: (717) 782-3902.
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