This OSHA Citation is an Example of Why Employers Need Safety and Health Compliance Assistance!


According to the OSHA press release from yesterday, the inspection was initiated as a result of the Site Specific Targeting (SST) program. This implies that it was a programmed inspection and not a referral, complaint, or other unprogrammed type inspection.

The 24 violations included (quoted from the press release)… “… lack of employee participation in and training of system operators; failure to compile process safety information and to conduct process hazard analyses; lack of written operating procedures for the ammonia process; failure to evaluate contractor safety performance and to conduct a pre-startup review after a significant facility modification; as well as a failure to manage changes and mechanical integrity of process equipment, to perform anhydrous ammonia release incident investigations, to have an adequate facility emergency plan and to have compliance certification of the program.

Other serious violations include failure to maintain floors in a clean and dry condition; fall hazards due to an unguarded pit opening and lack of aerial lift training; failure to have at least two suitable gas masks available and accessible; an inadequate respirator program; lack of developed confined space procedures; and grinding wheel, compressed air and electrical shock hazards…”

It would appear that 29 CFR 1910.111, 1910.119, Subparts D & E, and others might have been among the standards in the citation. What I found particularly interesting, though, is that the press release states that this was a SST inpection, however,I could not find this employer in either the 2009 nor the 2010 SST databases. That’s up to Hi Plains Feed to contend with as it is theoretically possible that they were added ‘after the fact’ so to speak. (ie: would’ve been on the list if they were captured data by BLS).

Purely judging by the article and the press release, it’s apparent that the employer is not trying to skirt around their obligations. In fact, it seems like the company is taking OSHA’s findings to heart (as they should) and immediately doing what they can to abate the hazards as effectively and quickly as possible. I am struck by their comment that they did not know that there were multiple standards. What else don’t they know about OSHA requirements? I know this… Hi Plains Feed is surely not the only company that wants to provide their workers with an environment free of recognized hazards.

This case clearly supports the notion that OSHA must, for the sake of fulfilling its mission, continue investing in and providing quality Compliance Assistance services. Countless small and medium size businesses rely on such assistance to ensure that they properly do their part in protecting employees from hazards. With more adequate resources in Compliance Assistance, perhaps Hi Plains Feed — and many others — would be better able to achieve compliance. Just a thought…

*** Here’s the article as published on Fox4 in KC ***

OSHA cites Hi Plains Feed in Kansas for safety issues, proposes $48,500 in fines

By Associated Press

4:00 AM CDT, August 12, 2010

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed $48,500 fines against a Garden City livestock feed manufacturer.

OSHA alleges 24 safety violations by Hi Plains Feed in its anhydrous ammonia system. The agency said Wednesday it believes Hi Plains failed to train employees and did not have written operating procedures.

Hi Plains manager Ted Jackson said some violations occurred because the company was unaware OSHA had two sets of rules on anhydrous ammonia — one for manufacturers, the other for farming use.

Jackson says the company has started to correct the violations under an OSHA plan that would substantially reduce the fines.

***

Prometrix Consulting, with a staff of former OSHA officials, offers expert consulting and training services to help clients ensure compliance with complex workplace safety and health requirements.

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