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OSHA Regional News Brief
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Region 6


Please note: As of January 20, 2017, information in some news releases may be out of date or not reflect current policies.

 

 

Jan. 25, 2016

 

 

Workplace hazards at Brownsville frozen seafood distributor
leads to $155K in OSHA fines; company named 'severe violator'

Agency inspectors find chemical, noise and other hazards at Rich Products Corp.

Employer name: Rich Products Corp., Brownsville, Texas

Citations issued: Jan. 22, 2016

Investigation findings: The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration began a programmed-targeted inspection on July 23, 2015, under the agency's Process Safety Management Covered Chemical Facilities National Emphasis Program to reduce or eliminate the release of highly hazardous chemicals. Following the inspection of the plant's anhydrous ammonia refrigeration system, OSHA issued citations for 11 serious and three repeat violations and also placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

  • Some of the 11 serious violations cited include failing to:
    • Provide written notice of annual audiograms.
    • Refit workers for hearing protection and training.
    • Test ammonia detectors, and implement an emergency response plan for potential release of anhydrous ammonia.
    • Provide an annual fit test for respirator use.
    • Provide a medical evaluation to determine employee's ability to use a respirator.
  • The repeat violations, all relating to the PSM, include failing to:
    • Include a relief design system for the process safety information to maintain adequate pressure.
    • Provide accurate calculations for the ventilation system design.
    • Provide adequate procedures for draining oil pot vessels.

Proposed Penalties: $155,000

Quote: "Process safety management is necessary for preventing or minimizing the consequences of an unexpected release of toxic, reactive, flammable, or explosive chemicals in the workplace. This includes liquids and gases in processes involving highly hazardous chemicals such as ammonia," said Travis Clark, OSHA's area director in Corpus Christi. It's vital that Rich Products ensure safeguards are in place to protect worker safety and health at this facility."

Link to the citations: http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Rich_Products_Corp_1081533.pdf

Information: Headquartered in St. Simons Island, Georgia, Rich Products is a manufacturer and distributor of frozen seafood products. The company has 15 business days from receipt of their citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

To ask questions; obtain compliance assistance; file a complaint or report amputations, eye loss, 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 Corpus Christi Area Office at 361-888-3420. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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Media Contacts:

Diana Petterson, 972-850-4710, petterson.diana@dol.gov
Juan Rodriguez, 972-850-4709, rodriguez.juan@dol.gov

Release Number: 16-173-DAL


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