Nationwide Food Distributor Fined for Process Safety Management Problems

OSHA's Area Office in Boise, Idaho, has cited AmeriCold Logistics LLC for alleged violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act related to unsafe working conditions at the company's 396,000-square-foot facility in Nampa, Idaho. The company offers temperature-controlled warehousing, blast freezing, inventory management, manufacturing support, and rail/truck transloading at the site, among other services.

"Many of the alleged violations cited were for deficiencies in AmeriCold Logistics' process safety management, or PSM, program," said Richard S. Terrill, OSHA's regional administrator in Seattle. "When properly implemented, PSM programs help ensure that operations involving hazardous chemicals are performed in a safe manner."

OSHA conducted an inspection under its Chemical Industry National Emphasis Program at the AmeriCold Logistics Nampa facility and found seven alleged serious violations, four alleged repeat violations, and one other-than-serious violation carrying a total of $153,000 in proposed penalties.

The serious violations involve worker exposure to hazards due to: failure to protect ammonia piping from forklift impact; failure to locate discharge pipes in a safe location; failure to implement recommendations from the process hazard team; failure to replace pressure relief valves as recommended; failure to design the PSM covered system; unguarded exposed parts of horizontal shafting; and lack of an adequate respirator for employees. Serious citations are issued when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known.

The repeat violations include unguarded open sided floors or platforms; a lack of piping and instrument diagrams for equipment in safety information; a lack of written procedures to maintain equipment and of inspection and testing of equipment and wiring methods; and equipment and installations of equipment in hazardous locations that are not safe or approved for such areas. A repeat violation is issued when an employer previously was cited for the same or similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facilities in federal enforcement states within the last three years.

The other-than-serious violation involves unguarded stairway floor openings.

According to its Web site, AmeriCold is the largest provider of temperature-controlled food distribution services in the country. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Boise, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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