The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Creekstone Farms Premium Beef LLC of Arkansas City, Kan., for allegedly exposing workers to a potential catastrophic release of ammonia at its meat processing facility. Proposed violations total $130,000.
A December 2009 OSHA inspection found 20 alleged serious violations and one alleged repeat violation.
The serious violations primarily stem from hazardous deficiencies in the company’s process safety management of the ammonia refrigeration system. Violations include a lack of worker participation and training of system operators; inadequate process hazard analyses of hazardous consequences and system controls; inadequate refrigeration system operating procedures to prevent and control a catastrophic ammonia release; inadequate refrigeration system emergency procedures to respond to a catastrophic release and evacuate all plant workers; and inadequate mechanical integrity throughout the refrigeration system to prevent equipment malfunctions.
The repeat violation stems from a failure to provide machine guarding to protect employees from amputation hazards created by rotating and moving parts of a saw. In addition, machine guarding was not adequate for dumpers or packing machines.
Creekstone Farms Premium Beef LLC has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director in Wichita, Kan., or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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