OSHA initiated its inspection of the liquid-based fertilizer producer under both the agency’s Site-Specific Targeting Program for industries with high occupational injury and illness rates, and its process safety management national emphasis program for chemical manufacturers. OSHA’s PSM standard contains specific requirements for the management of hazards associated with processes using dangerous chemicals, and establishes a comprehensive management program integrating technologies, procedures and management practices. Additional information about PSM is available online.
“OSHA has a stringent process safety management standard, and it is imperative that employers rigorously update and properly maintain each element of the process to minimize hazards, and provide a safe and healthful workplace for employees,” said Charles E. Adkins, OSHA’s regional administrator in Kansas City, Mo. “OSHA is committed to protecting workers and educating employers about the risks involved with exposure to hazardous chemicals.”
Of the 24 alleged serious violations, those related to PSM include incorrect and incomplete process and implementation diagrams, a deficient process hazard analysis of the system, incomplete operating procedures, an inadequate mechanical integrity program for the system, inappropriate inspections and tests of the system and a lack of hot work permits. OSHA also found compliance audits to be insufficient and claimed the employer failed to follow up on compliance audit findings.
Other alleged serious violations involve electrical hazards as well as deficiencies with walking/working surfaces, overhead storage, an emergency action plan, hazard communication and procedures for the lockout/tagout of energy sources. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard that the employer knew or should have known.
One alleged other-than-serious violation with no penalty was issued for failing to document powered industrial truck training. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
Loveland Products Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director in Omaha or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.