Cheese Maker Hit with $111,000 Fine for Anhydrous Ammonia Hazards, More

OSHA cited the company for 12 serious and one repeat violation after an inspection identified two incidents of anhydrous ammonia release, an absence of fall protection, the employer's failure to implement an emergency response plan, and other workplace hazards.

OSHA has cited Davisco Foods International, doing business as Jerome Cheese Co. in Jerome, Idaho, for 12 serious and one repeat violation after an inspection of the company's facility identified two incidents of anhydrous ammonia release, an absence of fall protection, the employer's failure to implement an emergency response plan, and other workplace hazards. Proposed penalties total $111,000.

OSHA's area office in Boise, Idaho, began an investigation last year as part of a national emphasis program on chemical facilities.

"This employer failed to devote sufficient resources to its process safety management program, thereby exposing workers to the threat of serious injury or death associated with potential releases of anhydrous ammonia," said Dean Ikeda, OSHA's regional administrator in Seattle. "Additionally, OSHA identified violations related to the employer's failure to implement an emergency response plan."

The serious violations involve inadequate process safety management, inadequate process hazard analysis, inadequate process safety information, failure to implement an emergency response plan, and failure to provide fall protection. In addition, the employer allowed use of less protective equipment and did not provide enough emergency eyewash and showers for employees.

The employer's failure to implement an emergency response plan also represents the repeat citation because the company was cited for a similar violation on May 24, 2007.

Davisco Foods International, based in Le Sueur, Minn., also has cheese manufacturing facilities in Minnesota and North Dakota, and sales offices in several countries.

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