July 2, 2015
Cold storage warehouse fails to protect workers from hazardous gas exposure
Valley International Cold Storage in Harlingen, Texas, fined $76,500
Employer name: Valley International Cold Storage LLC
Location: Harlingen, Texas
Date citations issued: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued the citations on July 1. The inspection was opened under the agency's Site Specific Targeting program for industries with high injury and illness rates and its Process Safety Managed Covered Chemical Facilities National Emphasis Program.
Investigation findings: Eight of the 15 serious violations are related to the Process Safety Management Program for the maintenance and operation of the Anhydrous Ammonia refrigerant system to prevent potentially catastrophic releases. The violations include failing to inspect and test equipment intended to control and contain ammonia; failing to maintain process equipment in an acceptable working order; and not ensuring that process information is up to date and accurate. The company was also cited for failing to provide emergency eyewash, not having an audiometric testing program, and improper chemical storage.
Proposed penalties: OSHA proposed $76,500 in fines.
View citations at: http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/ValleyIntlColdStorageLLC_1023716.pdf
Quote: "Anhydrous ammonia can burn a worker's lungs, eyes and skin, and those burns can be fatal," said Michael Rivera, OSHA's area director in Corpus Christi. "Unlike the household cleaner, this is a very concentrated and toxic form of ammonia that requires strict controls and handling procedures to keep workers from harm."
Information: Valley International Cold Storage LLC, a cold storage warehouse, has 15 business days from receipt of its 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, losses of an eye, 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.
Release Number: 15-1293-DAL
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