OSHA has launched a new program to address hazards from exposure to fertilizer-grade ammonium nitrate (FGAN) and agricultural anhydrous ammonium. The Regional Emphasis Program (REP) will be effective in the states of Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Workers employed in the fertilizer storage, mixing/blending, and distribution industry can face hazards that can lead to serious injury, illness and death, including fire and explosions, as well as exposure to toxic gases and hazardous chemicals.

90 days to get compliance help

“This program is an enforcement tool to emphasize the obligations under existing OSHA standards,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Kimberly Stille in Kansas City, Missouri. “The 90-day outreach period is an opportunity for employers to proactively seek compliance assistance to ensure they are adequately protecting workers.”

The program begins October 1, 2018, with a three-month period of education and prevention outreach to encourage employers to bring their facilities into compliance with OSHA standards. During this period, OSHA will continue to respond to complaints, referrals, hospitalizations, and fatalities. Enforcement activities will begin after the outreach period and run through September 30, 2019, unless extended.

“The goal is to improve worker safety and reduce the potential for catastrophic incidents,” said Eric Harbin, OSHA's Acting Regional Administrator in Dallas. “At the end of the day, we want to ensure workers go home safely to their families.”

Information on hazards and methods for control is available on the OSHA web page, Fertilizer Industry Guidance on Storage and Use of Ammonium Nitrate, and information regarding storage and handling is on the OSHA web page covering anhydrous ammonia standards.

OSHA offers compliance assistance to all employers at no charge. Each state has an On-Site Consultation Program, a free and confidential program to help small- and medium-sized employers learn about potential hazards at their workplace and improve safety and health programs.