OSHA Puts the Brakes on Penn Traffic Co.

OSHA cites a Pennsylvania company for 24 violations of workplace safety and health standards.

Penn Traffic Co.'s Riverside Division in DuBois, Pa., failed to address and correct several serious violations issued during an August 2000 inspection, prompting the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to conduct a follow-up investigation. As a result, the agency issued 24 serious, one repeat and five other-than serious violations with a total proposed penalty of $144,500.

Penn Traffic is a food retailer that employs 15,000 workers and operates 220 supermarkets in the eastern United States. The Riverside division, which employs 200 workers, is a refrigerated wholesale food distribution center that uses anhydrous ammonia as a refrigerant.

"Most of the serious violations address this employer's failure to develop and implement an effective process safety management program," said John Stranahan, area director of the Erie OSHA office. "Process safety management is intended to prevent or minimize the consequences of a catastrophic release of toxic, reactive, flammable or explosive hazardous chemicals."

OSHA issued 22 alleged serious health violations with a proposed penalty of $114,500; one alleged repeat health violation with a penalty of $25,000; four alleged other-than serious health violations with no penalty; two alleged serious safety violations with a penalty of $4,000; and one alleged other-than-serious safety violation with a penalty of $1,000.

The majority of the serious health violations address the employer's failure to develop and implement an effective safety management program including lack of employee involvement; incomplete process safety information; incomplete process hazard analyses; failure to develop operating procedures; lack of training for process operators; no provisions for contractor safety; failure to perform pre-startup safety review; failure to address mechanical integrity; failure to establish and implement written procedures to maintain the mechanical integrity of process equipment; emergency response plan deficiencies; and lack of compliance audits. The company was also cited for protective equipment violations and lack of an eye wash station.

The repeat health violation concerns the company's failure to train each employee involved in maintaining the on-going integrity of process equipment.

The company was given four other-than-serious health citations - with no penalty - for failure to maintain the contract employee injury and illness log; failure to prepare a report of incident investigation; not establishing a system to resolve incident report finding; no reviewing reports with affected; and not retaining such reports for five years.

The two serious safety violations related to the lockout/tagout program, which is designed to avoid the inadvertent or unexpected release of stored energy in machine or equipment, and one other-than-serious safety violation concerns the company's failure to provide abatement certification from a previous inspection.

edited by Sandy Smith

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