Famous cheese maker Sorrento Lactalis is facing quite a hefty federal fine on account of safety violations, according to sources. The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspected a Sorrento facility in Buffalo, New York and cited 13 safety violations, most pertaining to procedures for handling hazardous chemicals.
The chemical, anhydrous ammonia, is used in the refrigeration system at the Sorrento facility. It is a colorless gas that is both caustic and hazardous and can be harmful to both employees and the environment. According to OSHA, Sorrento’s plans for handling the gas were inadequate. The proposed OSHA fines total $241,000. Eight of the citations were for “not conducting equipment inspections consistent with good engineering practices, not updating process safety information and using an unsecured electrical cable.”
Unfortunately, Sorrento is no stranger to OSHA or safety violations. Five of the safety violations were classified as repeat violations, fines for which totaled $192,500. Another Sorrento facility in Nampa, Idaho was cited by OSHA in 2008 and 2011 for similar violations.
There is no excuse for repeat violations. Sorrento needs to figure out an effective system for handing chemicals and inspecting its equipment, before a serious worker injury or death occurs.
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