The charges relate to the operation and maintenance of the plant’s refrigeration system and the chemical anhydrous ammonia, used in the refrigeration system.
The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Rosina Food Products for nine serious violations of workplace safety standards with a proposed penalty of $54,750 after an inspection which began in September last year.
The inspection identified deficiencies in the company's process safety management program, a set of requirements and procedures employers must follow to address hazards associated with processes and equipment involving hazardous chemicals.
OSHA found that the site lacked effective operating procedures for emergency shutdown procedures of the refrigeration system, necessary corrective actions identified during hazard analyses of the refrigeration process and procedures for handling small releases of anhydrous ammonia.
The frozen food manufacturer did not develop procedures for locking out machines to prevent their unintended startup during servicing, did not inspect such procedures and did not use group lockout/tagout procedures.
"The stringent and comprehensive requirements of OSHA's process safety management standard are designed to prevent catastrophic incidents, such as the uncontrolled release of highly hazardous chemicals, including ammonia," said Arthur Dube, OSHA's area director for western New York.
"This requires full, effective and proactive adherence to the standard's requirements by the employer."
Prevent hazardous conditions
Rosina produces meatballs, pasta, eggplant, pizza toppings and sausage sold through retail and foodservice channels and used in other manufacturer’s products.
"One method of enhancing workers' safety is developing and maintaining an effective illness and injury prevention program in which management and employees work together to identify and prevent hazardous conditions," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, meet with OSHA's area director or contest the findings.