27 safety violations found at Wisconsin frozen food company
Echo Lake Foods faces $150,000 in fines
Echo Lake Foods Inc. has been cited by OSHA with 27 safety violations carrying fines of $150,000. Multiple violations of OSHA's process safety management standards for facilities that use highly hazardous chemicals were found at the company's Burlington and Franksville frozen food production plants.
Complaints to OSHA spurred action
OSHA received complaints alleging hazards with the ammonia refrigeration systems at those facilities. A fire at the Burlington facility Jan. 30 resulted in the destruction of a portion of the plant's ammonia refrigeration system, causing significant property damage. No serious injuries were reported.
"By disregarding OSHA's standards to train employees on ammonia hazards, compressors and safety procedures, Echo Lake Foods endangered workers at both its Wisconsin facilities," said Christine Zortman, OSHA's area director in Milwaukee.
Twenty-two process safety management violations at both facilities involve multiple instances of not addressing the consequences of the failure of various engineering and administrative controls. The company also failed to address procedures to perform oil draining activities safely for ammonia compressors and provide and document worker training involving the ammonia systems and related operating equipment.
No eyewash station near anhydrous ammonia
In Burlington, four additional serious violations include insufficient safety guardrails on platforms; inadequate exit routes; lack of an emergency eyewash station near a compressor room, posing potential exposure to anhydrous ammonia; and missing cover plates on several electrical switches. In Franksville, one additional serious violation includes failing to certify that periodic inspections of hazardous energy control procedures had been performed. 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 citations may be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/EchoLakeFoodsInc_845383and860583_0723_13.pdf*.
Echo Lake Foods Inc. employs 450 workers companywide. In addition to Burlington and Franksville, the company operates a production and storage facility in Owensboro, Ky. The Wisconsin facilities have been inspected by OSHA 13 times and issued 45 citations. The Kentucky facility has received two violations. The company is headquartered in Burlington.