An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration identified deficiencies in the Arctic Glacier U.S.A., Inc.'s, Hicksville, N.Y. plant Process Safety Management program. Uncorrected, these deficiencies could have serious consequences for the plant's employees.
A number of the hazards identified during OSHA's inspection were electrical in nature, and included:
- Lack of weatherproof covers on circuit breakers in wet locations.
- Spliced and uninsulated power cords.
- An exposed electrical switch.
- Unmarked exits. (OSHA cited Arctic Glacier for similar exit hazards at its Mamaroneck location in February 2013.)
OSHA's inspection also found that the plant failed to:
- Document that equipment used in the refrigeration system complied with recognized and generally accepted engineering practices.
- Conduct a pre-startup safety review following modifications to the refrigeration system.
- Implement procedures for controlling an outside contractor's access to process areas.
- Evaluate an outside contractor's safety and health programs.
"An uncontrolled release of anhydrous ammonia can have catastrophic and lethal consequences. To prevent a tragedy, it is vital that Arctic Glacier ensure that all requirements for the safe operation and management of its refrigeration system are complete, up-to-date and effective," said Anthony Ciuffo, OSHA's Long Island area director.
These conditions led the agency to cite Arctic Glacier for one repeat and seven serious violations of workplace safety standards and proposed fines totaling $67,000. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.