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The state of IL has passed some Anhydrous Ammonia (NH3) regulations that will require retail Ag fertilizer businesses to:
In November 2015, Congress enacted legislation requiring federal agencies to adjust their civil penalties to account for inflation. The Department of Labor is adjusting penalties for its agencies, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA's maximum penalties, which were last adjusted in 1990, will increase by 78%. Going forward, the agency will continue to adjust its penalties for inflation each year based on the Consumer Price Index. The new penalties will take effect after August 1, 2016. Any citations issued by OSHA after that date will be subject to the new penalties if the related violations occurred after November 2, 2015.
Adjustments to Penalties
To provide guidance to field staff on the implementation of the new penalties, OSHA will issue revisions to its Field Operations Manual by August 1. To address the impact of these penalty increases on smaller businesses, OSHA will continue to provide penalty reductions based on the size of the employer and other factors.
With all pun intended, this is a REAL speed limit sign with solar panel and digital readout that was run over, we are pretty sure intentionally, at a plant. Speed was a concern on this road within the facility so HR and management wanted to "provide feedback" so that people knew they were speeding. The Safety Manager said... "that's what speedometers are for - they know they are speeding" and pushed to put up a camera system to catch the offenders, as many knew who the offenders were, but no one was willing to talk. HR won and it took less than 12 hours, they found this the next morning. Keep in mind this is a major industrial complex with ADULTS working - not a high school parking lot! Before this, they placed the 15 mph signs that were 2X's the normal size. The kicker... my advice for speed bumps was shot down because management feared the speed bumps would only damage the company vehicles (translation - speed bumps would not slow down the offenders and only damage company vehicles). And who says managing safety (i.e. behaviors) is easy. Not only does the safety manager have to manage the workforce, he/she also needs to work on management and how they manage safety.
Respondent owns and operates a chemical plant to produce many grades of high density polyethylene (HDPE). On August 2, 2015, Respondent identified a release of hexane into the adjacent facility to Respondent cooling water system and released to atmosphere. The cause was due to two of 658 "U" tubes from the LHC Tails Cooler failed due to fretting (wearing away) at the baffle hole contact point. Respondent estimated that 154,000 pounds of hexane was released to the cooling water system and released to the atmosphere over an 11 day period, from July 22 to August 2 when the leak was identified and the cooler was isolated. The time of the leak was determined by an investigation after the leak was isolated. The fretting was caused by water flow induced vibration which compromised the support of the tubes at the baffle holes due to corrosion of the carbon steel baffles.
Respondent has submitted and registered an RMPlan to the EPA for its stationary source and has developed an RMProgram accidental release prevention program for the stationary source. Respondent operates polyhydric alcohol production process that uses ethylene oxide, propylene oxide, and ethylenediamine in the polyhydric alcohol production process. Respondent has one RMProgram level 3 covered process, polyhydric alcohol production process, which otherwise uses toxic regulated substances (ethylene oxide, propylene oxide, and ethylenediamine) in amounts exceeding their applicable thresholds of 10,000 pounds. During calendar year 2014, EPA opened an RMProgram compliance monitoring investigation to determine Respondent's compliance with 40 C.F.R. Part 68 at its stationary source. As part of this investigation, the EPA conducted an onsite inspection of RMProgram related records on May 7, 2014.
Respondent owns and operates a 210,000 square foot fresh fruits and vegetables processing and cold storage facility. The facility includes one RMProgram regulated closed-looped ammonia refrigeration system. The refrigeration system represents an RMProgram level 3 covered process which currently stores or otherwise uses 27,300 pounds of anhydrous ammonia, in amounts exceeding the applicable threshold of 10,000 pounds.
Respondent owns and operates a container molding facility where it manufactures and recycles high density polyethylene containers ranging in size from fifty-five to 330 gallons ("containers"). The larger containers are encased in a steel cage for extra support. As part of its recycling operations, the Facility accepts used containers which routinely contain small amounts of residual chemicals, including formaldehyde, a listed or other extremely hazardous substance. These used containers are processed at the return processing area. The return processing area includes a conveyor system and a cut-and-scrape area. At the return processing area, Respondent classifies return containers by chemical type and groups certain containers together to prevent the possibility of a chemical reaction. The return containers are placed on the assembly line, the inner plastic tank is removed and drained of any residue. The plastic is destroyed and the steel cage is washed and used for future containers. On October 7, 2015, Respondent's employees reported that an unknown chemical reaction had started in the return processing area. The reaction was described as a smoke emitting foaming liquid. Employees attempted to stop the reaction with a fire extinguisher, but were unable to do so. Employees evacuated the area when flames appeared. The fire quickly engulfed the return process area. The fire was eventually extinguished with the help of the local fire department. Two firefighters were hospitalized and later released. Respondent suffered property damage as a result of the fire, including damage to inventory as well as the conveyor system and cut-and-scrape area.
It is become more common to find this type of set up on our audits. We don't see this cited often but OSHA will cite this very set up using:
1910.141(g)(2) Eating and drinking areas. No employee shall be allowed to consume food or beverages in a toilet room nor in any area exposed to a toxic material.
and when they make the argument that no one is eating while in the bathroom, we use...
1910.141(g)(4) Sanitary storage. No food or beverages shall be stored in toilet rooms or in an area exposed to a toxic material.
Appropriations Bill Blocks OSHA's efforts to revise the "retail exemption" as it applies to Anhydrous Ammonia @ Fertilizer Distributors
The House Appropriations Committee has approved language blocking OSHA's efforts to cover Anhydrous Ammonia bulk processes located at "fertilizer businesses". The legislation now awaits consideration on the House floor. The bill prevents OSHA from revising a previous enforcement position relating to the "retail exemption" (1910.119(a)(2)(i) that would pull around 4,800 anhydrous ammonia fertilizer facilities into PSM.
CLICK HERE (pdf) to see the Letter sent to the committee by 41 Congressmen seeking to block OSHA. A couple of notes about this political wrangling: