MADISON, Wis. — Responding to a report of workers being exposed to anhydrous ammonia, federal investigators found a Madison ice cream plant lacked sufficient process safety management procedures to control the release of hazardous chemicals.
Exposure to anhydrous ammonia, used in the refrigeration process, can cause respiratory injuries and burns to the skin and eyes.
Investigators with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined that AJLS Enterprises Inc. ‒ operating as Schoep’s Ice Cream ‒ failed to document that equipment was being operated consistent with best engineering processes, update processes following audits and respond to changes in the process.
“Employers must continually evaluate their engineering processes and train workers on how to safely operate equipment,” said OSHA Area Director Chad Greenwood in Madison. “Every employer should embrace safety and health as a core value in their establishment.”
OSHA issued 12 serious citations and proposed $145,097 in penalties. In addition to insufficient process safety procedures, OSHA noted multiple safety and health violations including:
- Lack of lockout/tagout procedures.
- Lack of machine guarding.
- Failing to train workers in lockout/tagout procedures.
- Not having a written hazard communication plan.
- Failing to update the emergency action plan.
- Ladder openings not protected from fall hazards.
In 2022, OSHA established a regional emphasis program for the food manufacturing industry to address multiple hazards.
AJLS Enterprises has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.