NY Ice Plant Cited for Hazards, Mainly PSM Deficiencies

OSHA has cited Arctic Glacier Inc. of Fairport, N.Y., for 20 alleged serious violations of the agency's health and safety standards. The ice manufacturer faces $90,000 in proposed fines for incomplete or inadequate safeguards for its refrigeration system and other hazards at its 900 Turk Hill Road plant. The bulk of the citations cover deficiencies in the plant's process safety management program. OSHA's PSM standard mandates a detailed set of requirements and procedures employers must follow to proactively assess and address hazards associated with processes involving the use of more than 10,000 pounds of a hazardous chemical, in this case ammonia, in the plant's refrigeration system.

"Process safety management demands constant, effective attention and commitment because the consequences of a leak or other incident can be severe and catastrophic," said Arthur Dube, OSHA's area director in Buffalo. "While it's fortunate no accident occurred, safeguarding employees against death or serious injury cannot and must never be left to chance."

OSHA's inspection, conducted by its Buffalo Area office, found: that all plant employees had not been informed about the plant's PSM plan and updates to its emergency response plan; incomplete process hazard analyses and follow through; no means of verifying employees' PSM training; infrequent and incomplete inspections and testing of process equipment; lack of proper procedures to manage process changes; incomplete responses to process compliance audits; and a lack of oversight and information to contract employees working in process areas.

The agency also identified hazards associated with fork trucks, including untrained employees and the loading of a 6,950-pound fork truck onto an elevator with a weight capacity of only 4,000 pounds; inadequate or unmarked emergency exit routes; unguarded open-sided floors; an unguarded wrapping machine; and use of an electric heater in a battery charging area.

Detailed information about OSHA's PSM standard and ammonia refrigeration is available online at www.osha.gov/SLTC/processsafetymanagement/index.html and www.osha.gov/SLTC/ammoniarefrigeration/index.html.

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