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updated: 1/22/2013 5:00 PM

OSHA cites Bartlett pasta factory for safety violations

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A pasta production facility in Bartlett has been cited for 12 safety violations by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Rana Meal Solutions LLC faces a proposed $54,000 in OSHA fines after an inspection found company employees were exposed to ammonia hazards in July 2012. Deficiencies in the company's ammonia refrigeration process amounted to eight serious violations of OSHA's process safety management standards, according to the federal agency.

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OSHA states that a serious violation exists when there is "a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known."

A statement released by Rana Tuesday afternoon said that the company is currently reviewing the safety violations report and is "committed to working closely with OSHA to uphold the utmost standard of health and safety."

According to a news release issued by OSHA, the violations included a lack of written standard operating procedures for the ammonia refrigeration process; no emergency action plan; failing to perform inspections and tests on process equipment; not addressing the hazards of the ammonia refrigeration process; and failing to address the findings and recommendations of the process hazard analysis team.

Three more serious violations resulted from a failure to develop, implement and train employees in hazard communication; failure to provide an emergency eyewash station; and failure to provide material data safety sheets for hazardous chemicals present in the workplace, according to the agency.

An "other-than-serious" violation also was issued for a slip and trip hazard, due to water being found on the floor of an engine room.

OSHA spokeswoman Rhonda Burke said the company didn't begin production at the facility until October. The investigation occurred in July, when contractors were in the final stages of retrofitting the plant, located at 550 Spitzer Road in the Brewster Creek Business Park. Burke said, however, that the inspection only covered four Rana Meals employees who were at the facility in July, and not the contractors.

Burke said Rana Meals received the citation on Friday. The company has 15 business days from receiving the citation to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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