The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Cargill Meat Solutions Corp. for 23 serious violations of OSHA's process safety management and fall protection standards at its Milwaukee ground beef production facility. OSHA initiated the inspection in June under a process safety management national emphasis program. Proposed fines total $146,400.
"Failing to follow process safety management procedures when using hazardous chemicals such as ammonia can put workers in serious danger," said George Yoksas, OSHA's area director in Milwaukee. "It is unacceptable for employers not to ensure that work environments are healthful and safe."
The violations include failing to develop normal operating procedures for startup of ammonia refrigeration systems; develop training procedures for routine, regular and temporary tasks; develop and implement procedures to maintain process equipment; review operating procedures for accuracy; readily provide operating procedures for ammonia refrigeration operators; annually inspect piping; conduct equipment inspections and testing at required intervals; correct deficiencies noted in an audit; perform investigations for each incident that occurred on system equipment; and provide a guard on an open-side floor. 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.

Cargill Meat Solutions spokesman Mike Martin, says the alleged violations center primarily on documentation, reports the Associated Press. He says the company has an emergency response plan in place to address ammonia releases. The company has 15 business days to comply or contest the findings.

Sources: OSHA, Associated Press