According to the U.S. Department of Labor, a Georgia organization failed to protect its employees from workplace hazards, leading to the evacuation of about 50 workers.
Pilgrim’s Pride Corp.’s Ammonia leak ended up hospitalizing two workers – an emergency that could’ve been avoided by following the required safety standards and ensuring respiratory protection.
Uncontrolled temperature and pressure conditions on an ammonia refrigeration system led to the release of liquid and vapor ammonia, inundating the emergency exit doors, and putting employees at risk.
Inhalation and exposure to low concentrations of ammonia can cause coughing, and throat, nose, and eye irritation. Exposure to higher concentrations of ammonia can cause immediate burning of the eyes, throat, nose, and respiratory tract and can result in blindness, lung damage, and even death.
It’s critical that proper standard operating procedures are in place alongside Emergency Response Plans to ensure safe operations, especially when it comes to hazard monitoring and personal protection equipment (PPE). Draeger gas detectors and other products can assist with identifying and protecting against ammonia and other hazards in the workplace.
OSHA issued nine citations, stating the plant had failed to:
- Maintain safe walking and working surfaces
- Train workers on the physical and health hazards of anhydrous ammonia
- Ensure exit signs were properly illuminated and clearly identified
- Confirm a pre-startup safety review before introducing a highly hazardous chemical into an existing process, and include instructions to address process deviations
Breathing problems continue to rank as one of the most frequently cited OSHA standards and in today’s complex industrial environment, an increased focus on respiratory protection is paramount. In addition to ammonia, there are hundreds of dangerous gases and chemicals to beware of; not only for OSHA compliance but to ensure respiratory protection for everyone in the area.
Check out the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards to get general industrial hygiene information for various noxious chemicals and other hazardous substances.
If you want to learn more about the importance of specialty gases, Draeger gas detection, or purchase Draeger tubes, Instrument Depot is the leading distributor of precision calibration gas mixtures, accessories, and bump gas tests.
Ensure the respiratory protection of your work environment through air quality measurements and the detection of hazardous chemicals.