OSHA fines Echo Lake Foods $150,000 after 27 safety violations
found at Burlington and Franksville, Wis., frozen food production plants
BURLINGTON, Wis. – Echo Lake Foods Inc. has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration with 27 safety violations carrying fines of $150,000. Multiple violations of OSHA's process safety management standards for facilities that use highly hazardous chemicals were found at the company's Burlington and Franksville frozen food production plants.
OSHA received complaints alleging hazards with the ammonia refrigeration systems at those facilities. A fire at the Burlington facility Jan. 30 resulted in the destruction of a portion of the plant's ammonia refrigeration system, causing significant property damage. No serious injuries were reported.
"By disregarding OSHA's standards to train employees on ammonia hazards, compressors and safety procedures, Echo Lake Foods endangered workers at both its Wisconsin facilities," said Christine Zortman, OSHA's area director in Milwaukee. "OSHA is committed to protecting workers on the job, especially those exposed to hazardous materials, and educating employers about safety and health regulations."
Twenty-two process safety management violations at both facilities involve multiple instances of not addressing the consequences of the failure of various engineering and administrative controls. The company also failed to address procedures to perform oil draining activities safely for ammonia compressors and provide and document worker training involving the ammonia systems and related operating equipment.
In Burlington, four additional serious violations include insufficient safety guardrails on platforms; inadequate exit routes; lack of an emergency eyewash station near a compressor room, posing potential exposure to anhydrous ammonia; and missing cover plates on several electrical switches. In Franksville, one additional serious violation includes failing to certify that periodic inspections of hazardous energy control procedures had been performed. 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.
The current citations may be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/EchoLakeFoodsInc_845383and860583_0723_13.pdf*.
Echo Lake Foods Inc. employs 450 workers companywide. In addition to Burlington and Franksville, the company operates a production and storage facility in Owensboro, Ky. The Wisconsin facilities have been inspected by OSHA 13 times and issued 45 citations. The Kentucky facility has received two violations.
The company, which is headquartered in Burlington, has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and notice of proposed penalties to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. If the company does not file or contest within that period, it must abate the cited conditions within the period ordered in the citations and pay the proposed penalties.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Milwaukee Area Office at 414-297-3315.
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.
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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.
* Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.