Region 2 News Release: 11-1348-NEW/BOS 2011-330
Sept. 21, 2011
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
US Labor Department's OSHA cites Akron, NY, ice cream manufacturer
for process safety management and energy control hazards
BUFFALO, N.Y. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Perry's Ice Cream Co. Inc. for eight alleged serious violations of workplace safety standards following an inspection at its Akron, N.Y., manufacturing plant. The ice cream manufacturer faces a total of $51,000 in proposed penalties.
OSHA's inspection identified several deficiencies in the company'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 chemical was ammonia, used in the plant's refrigeration system. The violations involve uncorrected deficiencies in ammonia processing equipment, not developing and implementing safe work practices for all mechanical and maintenance tasks, incomplete written standard operating procedures and failure to provide process safety management training to employees at least every three years.
"The purpose of process safety management is to prevent catastrophic incidents such as fires, explosions and uncontrolled releases of highly hazardous chemicals, including ammonia," said Arthur Dube, OSHA's area director for western New York. "Employers must ensure that their PSM programs and training are up-to-date and ready for any contingency."
Inspectors also found deficiencies in the plant's hazardous energy control program, which involves powering down and locking out machines' power sources to prevent their unintended start up during maintenance. Specifically, lockout procedures were not developed for tasks that resulted in recordable worker injuries, all lockout procedures were not inspected periodically and employees were not trained on lockout procedures. Additionally, unapproved electrical wiring and equipment was used in a Class I, Division 2 hazardous location. 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.
"One means of preventing hazards such as these is for an employer to develop and implement an illness and injury prevention program in which management and workers proactively identify and eliminate hazardous conditions on a continual basis," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional director in New York.
Detailed information on process safety management is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/processsafetymanagement/index.html.
Perry's Ice Cream has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Buffalo Area Office; telephone 716-551-3053. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.