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Farm faces fines for ammonia violations

USA: An ammonia leak from a refrigeration system at a Florida farm, leading to a worker requiring medical treatment, faces penalties of $95,472.

The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Duda Farm Fresh Foods of Belle Glade, Florida, for failing to develop procedures for notifying employees of emergencies and evacuation, and a written emergency response plan. It was also accused of failing to provide safety and health training to employees operating ammonia refrigeration systems, and not ensuring that employees required to respond to ammonia releases were provided a full-face respirator fit test.

“This incident reveals the harm that can result when chemical facilities fail to comply with worker safety regulations,” said OSHA Fort Lauderdale area director Condell Eastmond. “Employers are required to conduct a process hazard analysis to review what could go wrong, and what safeguards must be used to prevent releases of hazardous chemicals.”

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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