Anhydrous Ammonia Exposures Cited by OSHA

Commerce, Calif.-based 99 Cents Only Stores Texas Inc. faces 19 serious violations in connection with its Houston distribution center.

OSHA has cited Commerce, Calif.-based 99 Cents Only Stores Texas Inc. with 19 alleged serious safety and health violations for process safety management shortcomings at the company's Houston distribution center, including exposing workers to anhydrous ammonia as they stored frozen products in refrigeration units, according to the agency.

The inspection was done as part of the agency's national emphasis program on process safety management. Proposed penalties are $121,000.

"Process safety management prevents the unexpected release of toxic, reactive or flammable liquids and gases in processes involving highly hazardous chemicals," said David Doucet, director of OSHA's Houston North Area Office. "Anhydrous ammonia is used in industrial refrigeration systems to keep things like food products cold, and a release of the chemical can expose workers to extreme lung, eye and skin irritation, and potential burns."

The citations can be viewed here and here. According to OSHA, 99 Cents Only Stores employs about 12,000 workers and has operations in Arizona, California, Nevada, and Texas.

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