OSHA partners with fertilizer industry regarding chemical safety

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Feb. 10, 2014
Contact: Office of Communications
Phone: 202-693-1999

OSHA partners with fertilizer industry to get message out on
chemical safety

WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is partnering with the Agricultural Retailers Association and The Fertilizer Institute to reach more than 7,000 agricultural retailers, distributers, producers and other facilities in the fertilizer industry to remind employers of the importance of safely storing and handling ammonium nitrate. 

This effort follows the devastating April 2013 ammonium nitrate explosion in West, Texas, which killed 15 including 12 emergency response personnel. OSHA cited the owners of the West Fertilizer Company with 24 serious safety violations for exposing workers to fire/explosion hazards of ammonium nitrate and chemical burn and inhalation hazards from anhydrous ammonia storage. 

The trade associations will distribute a letter from Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels to fertilizer industry employers throughout the country. In the letter, Dr. Michaels says, "The tragedy in West, Texas, and other incidents underscore the need for employers who store and handle hazardous substances like ammonium nitrate to ensure the safety of those materials - not just for workers at the facility but for the lives and safety of emergency responders and nearby residents. I am calling on you today to take the necessary steps to prevent tragic ammonium nitrate incidents." 

In the letter, OSHA provides employers with legal requirements and best practice recommendations for safely storing and handling ammonium nitrate. Employers can view the letter at http://www.osha.gov/dep/fertilizer_industry/index.html. OSHA's Web page on ammonium nitrate safety resources referred to in the letter can be found at http://www.osha.gov/dep/fertilizer_industry/index.html.

Following the tragedy that struck West, Texas, in April 2013, the President issued Executive Order 13650, Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security, on August 1, 2013, to improve chemical facility safety and security in coordination with owners and operators. The EO directs the Department of Homeland Security, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Labor, Department of Justice, Department of Agriculture and Department of Transportation to identify ways to improve operational coordination with state and local partners, enhance federal agency coordination and information sharing, modernize policies, regulations and standards to enhance safety and security in chemical facilities and work with stakeholders to identify best practices to reduce safety and security risks in the production and storage of potentially harmful chemicals.

OSHA establishes alliance with Chicago Roofing Contractors Association

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Region 5 News Release: 14-116-CHI
Jan. 27, 2014
Contact: Scott Allen      Rhonda Burke
Phone:       312-353-6976
Email: allen.scott@dol.gov      burke.rhonda@dol.gov

US Labor Department's OSHA establishes alliance with Chicago Roofing
Contractors Association to improve health and safety at construction sites

CHICAGO – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has established an alliance with the Chicago Roofing Contractors Association that will focus on sharing information about OSHA emphasis programs and occupational safety and health laws and standards, including the rights and responsibilities of workers and employers.

"This alliance is an opportunity for OSHA and the Chicago Roofing Contractors Association to work together to train employers and workers about the unique hazards of the roofing industry, including falls," said Angie Loftus, area director for OSHA's Chicago North Area Office. "Our focus is to continue to improve the safety and health of workers at Illinois construction sites."

OSHA and the Chicago Roofing Contractors Association will provide information and guidance to employers and workers. They will develop training and education programs for roofing contractors regarding hazards in construction and promote understanding of workers' rights. Training programs on common hazards in the construction industry will be discussed quarterly. Additionally, the alliance will provide a forum for OSHA personnel to appear and speak at events sponsored by the association, including its annual trade show. OSHA will raise awareness of best practices, regulatory updates and national campaigns.

Through its Alliance Program, OSHA works with businesses, trade associations, unions, consulates, professional organizations, faith- and community-based organizations, and educational institutions to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses. The purpose of each alliance is to develop compliance assistance tools, resources and to educate workers and employers about their rights and responsibilities.

OSHA's Illinois area offices in Des Plaines, North Aurora and Calumet City are participating in this alliance. Employers and workers with questions about this or other OSHA alliances and partnerships can call the Chicago Regional Office at (847) 803-4800.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.