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Friday, April 19, 2013 - 5:27pm

OSHA Looking At Fertilizer Plants

There are four facilities in Georgia that manufacture or mix the same type of fertilizer that exploded last week in a plant in West, Texas. Officials are reviewing whether more needs to be done to keep them safe.

The PCS Nitrogen plant in Augusta manufactures a maximum of 72,000,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia.

The Colquitt Ag Services plant in Doerun manufactures a maximum of 50,000 pounds of the fertilizer.

BASF Corporation in Attapulgus mixes a maximum of 52,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia.

The Agrium U.S., Inc. plant in Americus mixes a maximum of 440,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia.

The 100 year-old Agrium plant is in a residential area of Americus. The fire department there regularly trains with plant workers.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulates fertilizer plants, as does the state and the Environmental Protection Agency.

OSHA’s Benjamin Ross says the Georgia plants haven’t had any accidents.
“We haven’t had a complaint, there haven’t been any referrals that were made.”he says.

Ross says they haven’t inspected any of those plants recently. In order to get in, the agency has to get a complaint or referral, or inspect as part of its random inspection program.

“We will also look at past history in terms of inspection activity in that area. And we will make a determination on whether we need to develop a emphasis program that will give us the right to go in.”Ross says.

In the meantime, Ross says OSHA is sending all the plants information about potential hazards.

The state also regulates such plants. Only one plant has had any state violations since 2008.

As a result of the explosion in West, Texas, OSHA is taking a look at all such facilities.

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