OSHA reaches settlement with ConAgra over ammonia release

25 June 2013 21:44  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)—The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced on Tuesday that it has signed a settlement agreement with ConAgra Foods regarding the protection of employees at its facilities from the release of anhydrous ammonia.

The agreement will cover workers at five facilities in Arkansas, Idaho, Missouri and Ohio operated by Nebraska-based ConAgra. Under the settlement, OSHA is requiring the company to implement measures to reduce the hazards of ammonia being released from low-pressure receivers within the plants' refrigeration systems.

The agreement came as a result of agency inspections conducted at the American Falls, Idaho, plant that resulted in ConAgra being cited for failing to determine whether the older pressure receivers were being operated in a safe manner. Under the settled terms, the company will build covers around equipment that is not enclosed and establish ventilation systems as well as increasing the automation of ammonia-detection alarms.

David Michaels, OSHA's assistant labour secretary, said: “This agreement ensures that ConAgra will protect workers from releases of ammonia by enclosing older low-pressure receivers that were not already enclosed, and by providing other controls such as normal and emergency ventilation to prevent exposure.

He said OSHA’s corporate agreements ensure that companies “take a systemic approach to addressing hazards that can injure or kill their workers”.


By: Mark Milam



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