Anhydrous ammonia is often used as a chemical refrigerant in breweries, but the chemical can be corrosive to the skin, eyes and lungs when workers are exposed. In these settings, ammonia is used as a flammable vapor, which can cause an explosion if it meets an ignition source.
Issues with ammonia refrigeration led to more than $90,000 in fines for an Anheuser-Busch facility in Columbus, Ohio. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited the brewery for 10 total health and safety violations, based largely on improper handling of ammonia.
Why Are Ammonia Leaks Dangerous?
In February, inspectors found that Anheuser-Busch had failed to develop a procedure to detect and contain ammonia leaks, which pose a serious combustion hazard. The facility also lacked adequate emergency shutdown procedures for the system, another safeguard that could help prevent an explosion.
Ammonia detection systems and continuous emergency ventilation are an important part of protecting workers who are regularly exposed to ammonia, but Anheuser-Busch failed to install either. Exposed workers could have developed life threatening respiratory issues, like inflammation of the nose and throat and fluid accumulation in the lungs, known as pulmonary edema.
Symptoms of ammonia exposure may show up hours later, and even short-term exposure can have serious long-term consequences. If your illness was caused by ammonia exposure, or any other hazardous chemical, you may need an attorney to build the strongest workers’ comp claim possible.
At Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC, we believe that every worker has the right to a safe and hazard-free workplace. Our law firm has defended Ohio’s injured workers for more than 80 years, and our experience could make a crucial difference in your case. Schedule your free consultation today.
Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC
—Columbus Workers Comp Attorneys