The United States Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have signed an alliance with the Fertilizer Safety and Health Partners to provide information to workers, first responders, and communities that include agricultural retail and supply facilities in order to increase their protection from the dangers associated with those chemicals. OSHA’s announcement said the alliance will focus on the safe storage and handling of fertilizers such as ammonium nitrate and anhydrous ammonia.” “Incidents such as the horrific explosion at the West Fertilizer Company in West, Texas, that killed 15 people, including emergency response personnel, highlight the hazards in storing and handling ammonium nitrate, said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. These tragedies are preventable, and this alliance shows that we are working together to address hazards, prevent injuries, and save lives.” The new alliance is part of the federal government’s response to President Obama’s Executive Order 13650: Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security, which he signed following the devastating West explosion. The order directed federal agencies to improve their coordination with state and local partners; improve federal agency coordination and information sharing; modernise policies, regulations, and standards; and work with stakeholders to identify best practices. One action to which OSHA committed itself was to form an alliance with the fertilizer industry, emergency response organisations, and other federal agencies to develop ways to promote best practices for ammonium nitrate safety. During the two-year agreement, the alliance will develop outreach materials and case studies on safe storage and handling of fertilizers and best practices for emergency response procedures to releases of ammonia or fires in facilities that store ammonium nitrate. The Fertilizer Safety and Health Partners comprise the Agricultural Retailers Association, International Association of Fire Fighters, National Volunteer Fire Council, Fertilizer Institute, and Ammonia Safety Training Institute.
Occupational Health & Safety News, 3 February 2015 ;http://www.ohsonline.com ;