U.S. Department of Labor Cites South Florida Farm After Employee Becomes Ill from Exposure to Ammonia Vapor
BELLE GLADE, FL – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Duda Farm Fresh Foods Inc. – based in Belle Glade, Florida – for exposing employees to workplace safety hazards after a worker required medical treatment due to an anhydrous ammonia leak in the farm's packaging house. The company faces $95,472 in penalties.
OSHA cited the farm for failing to develop procedures for notifying employees of emergencies and evacuation, and a written emergency response plan; and failing to provide safety and health training to employees operating ammonia refrigeration systems, and ensure that employees required to respond to ammonia releases were provided a full-face respirator fit test. The inspection is covered under OSHA's National Emphasis Program on Process Safety Management Covered Chemical Facilities.
"This incident reveals the harm that can result when chemical facilities fail to comply with worker safety regulations," said OSHA Fort Lauderdale Area Director Condell Eastmond. "Employers are required to conduct a process hazard analysis to review what could go wrong, and what safeguards must be used to prevent releases of hazardous chemicals."
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to help ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education, and assistance. For more information, visit https://www.osha.gov.