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Region 7 News Release 10-1098-KAN
Aug. 11, 2010
Contact: Rich Kulczewski
Phone: 303-844-1302
Email: kulczewski.richard@dol.gov

US Department of Labor's OSHA assesses $48,500 in penalties after
finding 24 serious violations at Hi Plains Feed, of Garden City, Kan.

WICHITA, Kan. - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Hi Plains Feed LLC, of Garden City, Kan., for 24 alleged serious violations of process safety management for hazards found with its anhydrous ammonia system. Proposed penalties total $48,500.

"Our inspection identified numerous hazards that must be addressed," said Charles Adkins, OSHA's regional administrator in Kansas City, Mo. "OSHA's process safety management standard is stringent and comprehensive because a leak could have catastrophic consequences. It is imperative that employers take the necessary steps to eliminate hazards and provide a safe working environment for all of their employees."

OSHA initiated an investigation of Hi Plains Feed in February under its site-specific targeting program. Serious violations cited include a lack of employee participation in and training of system operators; failure to compile process safety information and to conduct process hazard analyses; lack of written operating procedures for the ammonia process; failure to evaluate contractor safety performance and to conduct a pre-startup review after a significant facility modification; as well as a failure to manage changes and mechanical integrity of process equipment, to perform anhydrous ammonia release incident investigations, to have an adequate facility emergency plan and to have compliance certification of the program.

Other serious violations include failure to maintain floors in a clean and dry condition; fall hazards due to an unguarded pit opening and lack of aerial lift training; failure to have at least two suitable gas masks available and accessible; an inadequate respirator program; lack of developed confined space procedures; and grinding wheel, compressed air and electrical shock hazards. OSHA issues serious citations when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which an employer knew or should have known.

Hi Plains Feed has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Wichita or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Wichita Area Office, telephone 316-269-6644. To report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-6742.

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 assure 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 releases are accessible on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit http://www.dol.gov/compliance.


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