Employer name: Americold, Atlanta, Georgia
Inspection site: Americold, 1731 Morrow Street, Green Bay, Wisconsin
Date investigation initiated and what prompted inspection: On Dec. 9, 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Appleton Area Office initiated an inspection of Americold's Green Bay, Wisconsin, refrigeration warehouse under the Site Specific Targeting 2014 National Emphasis Program.
Investigation findings: Investigators found 18 serious safety violations. Many of the violations were cited under OSHA's Process Safety Management Standards, which contain specific requirements for managing highly hazardous chemicals in work processes. One such chemical is anhydrous ammonia, widely used as a refrigerant in industrial facilities. Ammonia can be a health hazard because it is corrosive to the skin, eyes and lungs. It is a flammable vapor.
Americold failed to:
- Obtain the safe upper and lower temperature and pressure limits for refrigeration vessels
- Ensure the ammonia engine doors were tight-fitting
- Document inspections and preventative maintenance of refrigeration values
- Document refrigeration technician training
- Properly store compressed gas cylinders
Other violations found at the facility involved:
- Failing to compare annual audiograms to employees' base hearing test
- Not fitting face pieces for workers exposed to hazardous materials
- Altering forklifts without manufacturer permission
- Failing to train workers about potential asbestos hazards
- Electrical safety violations
'Americold has a responsibility to ensure the safe operation of its refrigeration systems by implementing an engineering process for the detection and control of potential ammonia systems releases,' said Robert Bonack, OSHA's area director in Appleton. 'Exposure to ammonia can have serious health consequences. Failure of these systems, such as over pressurization, can result in explosion and fire. Workers should not be put at risk because this company failed to implement the required protections.'
To view current citations see:
Proposed penalties: $70,593
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Appleton Area Office at 920-734-4521.