OSHA Launches New Regional Program for Fertilizer Storage Facilities

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will launch Regional Emphasis Programs (REPs) that address the hazards workers face from exposure to fertilizer-grade ammonium nitrate (FGAN) and agricultural anhydrous ammonium. Issued by OSHA Regions 6 and 7, the new REPs will cover worksites in seven states, including Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas.

According to OSHA, the 90-day program will emphasize the obligations under existing OSHA standards with a goal to improve worker safety and reduce the potential for catastrophic incidents. It will focus on workers employed in the fertilizer storage, mixing/blending, and distribution industry that face potential hazards that can lead to serious injury, illness and death, including fire and explosions, as well as exposure to toxic gases and hazardous chemicals

The program begins October 1, 2018, with a three-month period of education and prevention outreach to encourage employers to bring their facilities into compliance with OSHA standards. During this period, OSHA will continue to respond to complaints, referrals, hospitalizations, and fatalities. Enforcement activities will begin after the outreach period and run through September 30, 2019, unless extended.

Information on hazards and methods for control is available on the OSHA web page, Fertilizer Industry Guidance on Storage and Use of Ammonium Nitrate, and information regarding storage and handling is on the OSHA web page covering anhydrous ammonia standards.

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