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Anheuser-Busch Cos LLC cited by OSHA

Breweries need to ensure their compliance with OSHA regulations.

Breweries need to ensure their compliance with OSHA regulations.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Anheuser-Busch Cos. LLC for two repeat as well as eight serious safety violations, The Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration NEWS reports. The citations came after a February 4, 2014 inspection of the company's brewery's ammonia refrigeration system, located in Columbus, Ohio. OSHA's imposed penalties amount to $92,400.

OSHA's Process Safety Management Standards entail requirements for how highly hazardous chemicals, including anhydrous ammonia, should be handled in the workplace. Many industrial facilities, especially breweries, use anhydrous ammonia as a refrigerant. However, it poses health risks as it's corrosive to the skin, eyes and lungs and is a flammable vapor.

Deborah Zubaty, OSHA's area director in Columbus, emphasized Anheuser-Busch's responsibilities to manage ammonia safely. "Exposure to ammonia can have serious health consequences," Zubaty said. "Failure of these systems, such as overpressurization, can result in explosion and fire. Workers should not be put at risk because this company failed to implement the required protections."

OSHA's February inspection found that the Columbus Anheuser-Busch plant had not developed procedures for normal and emergency shutdown and restarting of refrigeration systems. Specifically, the company's process hazard analysis did not have response processes in the event of overpressurization and ammonia release. In addition, the company had not installed warning alert mechanisms, such as ammonia detection systems or a continuous emergency ventilation system. These were repeat violations dating back to 2010, when an Anheuser-Busch facility in Cartersville, Georgia was cited for similar failures to comply with OSHA standards.

The incident serves as a reminder of the importance of compliance with OSHA regulations. A learning management system can improve your organization's compliance, while providing many other benefits.

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