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OSHA cites two companies for hazardous chemical release

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The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is proposing a combined $43,458 in penalties against Tampa Electric Co. and Critical Intervention Services following a release of a chemical refrigerant.

OSHA determined that “the ammonia release occurred when a relief valve activated after a pipeline became over pressurized,” after responding to an incident at Tampa Electric’s Gibsonton, Florida-based facility in May 2017. Four workers were taken to the hospital for observation and released, the department said in a Friday statement. The electric company is facing a proposed fine of $18,108 for the serious violations, according to the citations.

The investigation also led to citations for Largo, Florida-based security services provider Critical Intervention Services, which received two serious violations “for not developing or implementing a written hazard communication program and failing to provide information and training on hazardous chemicals in the workplace,” OSHA said in the statement. The company is facing $25,350 in proposed penalties for the serious violations.

“When there is a potential hazardous chemical exposure, the emergency response plan must include all of the minimum safety and health requirements, including appropriate respiratory protection for employees,” Les Grove, Tampa, Florida-based OSHA area director, said in the statement.

Representatives from Tampa Electric Co. and Critical Intervention Services could not be immediately reached for comment.