Texas candy manufacturer cited by US Department of Labor's OSHA for
failing to protect workers from possible ammonia exposure
Russell Stover Candies Inc. fined $44,005 for eight serious violations
CORSICANA, Texas – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Russell Stover Candies Inc. for eight serious safety violations with proposed penalties totaling $44,005 for exposing workers to chemical hazards at its candy manufacturing plant in Corsicana.
The inspection by OSHA's Fort Worth Area Office began in May under the agency's Process Safety Management Covered Chemicals National Emphasis Program. PSM encompasses a detailed set of requirements and procedures employers must follow to proactively address hazards that are associated with processes and equipment that use large amounts of hazardous chemicals. In this case, the violations stemmed from the company's refrigeration system.
"This company jeopardized the safety of its employees by failing to effectively implement OSHA's process safety management regulations," said Jack Rector, OSHA's Fort Worth area director. "OSHA requires employers to fully implement their written PSM program and provide safe and healthful working conditions."
Six of the eight serious violations involve deficiencies in the PSM program, including failing to: confirm that process equipment complies with recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices, compile written process safety information for ammonia relief system header and emergency cutouts, ensure recommendations contained in the 2010 process hazard analysis were resolved and documented, establish and implement written procedures to maintain the ongoing mechanical integrity of the process equipment, inspect and test ammonia refrigeration equipment cutouts annually, and failing to determine and document responses to each of the findings in the 2010 compliance audit. The two remaining violations involve failing to ensure confined spaces are identified by signage and ensure extension cords are used only in continuous length and not spliced. 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.
Russell Stover Candies, headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., employs about 2,500 workers nationwide, 700 of which work in Corsicana. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's Fort Worth area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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 Fort Worth office at 817-581-7303.
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 exist 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 or CD from the COAST office upon request by calling 292-693-7828 or TTY 292-693-7755.