TEXAS FROZEN FOOD DISTRIBUTOR FINED OVER $150,000

John M. Williams (williams@rwktlaw.com)

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued eleven citations to Rich Products Corp. of Brownsville, Texas for "serious" violations under OSHA's Process Safety Management Covered Chemical Facilities National Emphasis Program ("PSM"). The citations total $155,000.00 in proposed penalties. The citations are the result of an inspection of the company's anhydrous ammonia refrigeration system. The following summary of the allegations is from the OSHA website:

  • Some of the 11 serious violations cited include failing to:
    • Provide written notice of annual audiograms.
    • Refit workers for hearing protection and training.
    • Test ammonia detectors, and implement an emergency response plan for potential release of anhydrous ammonia.
    • Provide an annual fit test for respirator use.
    • Provide a medical evaluation to determine employee's ability to use a respirator.
  • The repeat violations, all relating to the PSM, include failing to:
    • Include a relief design system for the process safety information to maintain adequate pressure.
    • Provide accurate calculations for the ventilation system design.
    • Provide adequate procedures for draining oil pot vessels.

Rich Products Corp. is a frozen seafood distributor. The company has 15 days to contest the citations and request a hearing on the merits if it intends to challenge OSHA's citations.

©RAJKOVICH, WILLIAMS, KILPATRICK & TRUE, PLLC 2016

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