OSHA has cited Meadow Gold Dairies of Englewood and Denver-based subcontractor Tolin Mechanical for 47 safety and health violations following a programmed inspection conducted under OSHA's Site-Specific Targeting program for high-hazard work sites as well as its national emphasis program on facilities with hazardous chemicals. Fines for both companies total $326,300.
OSHA cited Meadow Gold Dairies, a subsidiary of Dean Foods, for two alleged willful, one alleged repeat, 35 alleged serious and five other-than-serious violations. Proposed fines total $300,300.
"Meadow Gold, as part of a large national corporation, is well aware of the requirements of OSHA standards," said John Healy, OSHA area director in Englewood. "The violations which related to improper management of the anhydrous ammonia system demonstrate a lax attitude towards a potentially catastrophic atmospheric release."
The willful violations involve employee exposure to a potential hazardous release of anhydrous ammonia due to a failure to implement a required mechanical integrity program. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health.
The repeat violation relates to hazards associated with inadequate procedures for de-energizing equipment prior to performing maintenance activity. A repeat citation is issued when an employer has been previously cited for the same or similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Meadow Gold Dairies was cited for this same violation in 2010 at the same facility.
The serious violations include improper preventive maintenance of the anhydrous ammonia system, machine guarding hazards, fall hazards, inadequate personal protective equipment and electrical hazards. 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.
The other-than-serious violations include late recording of injury and illnesses on the OSHA 300 log, and various process safety management issues. 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.
Tolin Mechanical was cited for four serious violations carrying $26,000 in proposed penalties. The violations involved employees not being properly trained on emergency procedures and lacking adequate personal protective equipment while doing electrical work.
The companies have 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Englewood Area Office; telephone 303-843-4500. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).
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