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Meat packer faces $600k penalty for ammonia failures

USA: A Texas meat packing company faces penalties of over $600,000 for safety failures in operating an ammonia refrigeration system.

The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited 7 S Packing LLC – operating as Texas Packing Company in San Angelo, Texas – for exposing workers to releases of hazardous chemicals. 

The company faces $615,640 (€550,000) in penalties.

The OSHA determined that the meat-packing facility failed to implement a required Process Safety Management (PSM) programme for operating an ammonia refrigeration unit containing over 10,000lb (4,536kg) of anhydrous ammonia. The employer is also said to have failed to provide fall protection, guard machines and equipment, control hazardous energy, and implement a respiratory protection programme.

The PSM Covered Chemical Facilities National Emphasis Programme focuses on reducing or eliminating workplace hazards at chemical facilities to protect workers from catastrophic releases of highly hazardous chemicals.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and 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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