Franklin Park, IL: The US Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Jewel Food Stores Inc. in Franklin Park for 13 safety violations after an evaluation of the company's process safety management system was found lacking several required elements for handling ammonia refrigeration systems used in the food warehouse/distribution center. Proposed penalties total $75,000.
"Developing and following written procedures for the handling of substances like ammonia is critical to employees' safety," says Diane Turek, OSHA's director for the Chicago North Area Office located in Des Plaines. "Employers are responsible for knowing what hazards exist in their workplaces and following OSHA's regulations."
One repeat violation was cited for failing to develop and implement written operating procedures consistent with process safety information that provided clear instruction for safely conducting activities related to each covered process. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Jewel Food Stores was cited for the same violation in March 2010.
Ten serious violations involve failing to document inspections and tests performed on process equipment to maintain its mechanical integrity; not performing inspections and tests at applicable manufacturers' recommendations; not following generally accepted good engineering practices when performing inspections and testing of process equipment; not establishing and implementing written procedures to maintain the integrity of process equipment; and not annually certifying that operation procedures were current and accurate. Additionally, the process safety information did not include the safe upper and lower limits of items such as temperatures, pressures, flows or compositions, and it did not include piping and instrument diagrams. Finally, the hazard analysis did not address the hazards of the process and operating procedures, and it did not address normal operations for each operating phase. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Two other-than-serious violations were cited for failing to maintain a contract employee injury and illness log, and lacking procedures for handling small releases of ammonia in the emergency action plan. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
Jewel Food Stores has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call OSHA's Chicago North office at 847-303-4800. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).