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Rana Meat Solutions cited for exposing workers to ammonia

By Joe Whitworth , 24-Jan-2013
Last updated the 24-Jan-2013 at 13:09 GMT

Rana Meat Solutions has been cited by OSHA for exposing workers to ammonia hazards during a plant refit last year.

The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) proposed $54,000 in fines for the 12 safety violations at the Bartlett, Illinois, pasta manufacturing plant.

OSHA cited the firm after a complaint inspection alleging workers were exposed to ammonia hazards in July 2012 at the site which was being retrofitted for use as a pasta production facility, so wasn't producing the product at the time.

Ammonia-related deficiencies

Eight serious violations of OSHA's process safety management standards were cited for deficiencies in the company's ammonia refrigeration process.

These included a lack of written standard operating procedures for the ammonia refrigeration process; no emergency action plan; failing to perform inspections and tests on process equipment; not addressing the hazards of the ammonia refrigeration process; and failing to address the findings and recommendations of the process hazard analysis team.

Other serious violations involved failing to develop, implement and train employees in hazard communication, provide an emergency eyewash station and provide material data safety sheets for hazardous chemicals present in the workplace.

Risk of exposure

"OSHA provides guidelines for employers to manage the safety and health of workers associated with processes involving hazardous chemicals. Failing to properly address these issues puts workers at risk for exposure," said Diane Turek, area director for OSHA's Chicago North office.

One other-than-serious violation was issued for a slip and trip hazard after water was found on the floor of the engine room.

Rana Meal Solutions has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request a meeting with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.