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Region 4 News Release   ATL: 03-10
Fri., Jan. 24, 2003
Contact: Jo Anne Burgoyne     Andre Richards
Phone: (404) 562-2076     (770) 984-8700


Lack of Safety Plans at East Point, Ga., Firm Factor in Workers' Exposure to Ammonia; OSHA Proposes $57,200 in Penalties

ATLANTA -- The U. S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration today issued 15 serious citations to Reddy Ice of East Point and proposed $57,200 in total penalties following the agency's investigation of a July 24 ammonia release that sent four workers to the hospital.

On the day of the incident, employees at the ice manufacturing facility had finished changing electrical controls on a compressor and were in the process of restarting the motor when a buildup of pressure in the compressor caused a valve to rupture, blowing metal parts and ammonia into the air.

"This accident could have been avoided if the company had followed requirements of the process safety management standard and conducted a safety review before making modifications to the compressor," said Andre Richards, OSHA's Atlanta-West area director.

In 1992, OSHA issued the standard to protect employees from the hazards associated with certain chemicals, such as ammonia. This regulation requires companies to develop, implement, and update plans analyzing potential risks, outline procedures to minimize those factors and properly train employees on how to avoid exposure.

OSHA cited the company for failing to have an emergency action plan; failing to conduct a safety review before beginning modifications to equipment and failing to have an air pressure gauge on the compressed air receiver. The company was also cited for failing to have written programs for process safety management, respiratory protection, confined space entry and hazard communication. All of these programs require that employees receive appropriate training.

A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.

The company has 15 working days to contest the OSHA citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by staff from the OSHA Atlanta-West area office located at 2400 Herodian Way, Suite 250, Smyrna, Ga.; phone: (770) 984-8700.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is dedicated to saving lives, preventing injuries and illnesses, and protecting America's workers. Safety and health add value to business, the workplace and life. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

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Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents

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