PENN TRAFFIC WAREHOUSE CITED FOR 30 VIOLATIONS

DUBOIS, Pa. -- A refrigerated warehouse operated by Penn Traffic Co. here was cited last week by the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 30 violations it said the company had failed to address and correct over the past year.The violations carry proposed penalties of up to $144,500.Penn Traffic has until later this month to contest the citations before the Independent

DUBOIS, Pa. -- A refrigerated warehouse operated by Penn Traffic Co. here was cited last week by the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 30 violations it said the company had failed to address and correct over the past year.

The violations carry proposed penalties of up to $144,500.

Penn Traffic has until later this month to contest the citations before the Independent Occupational Safeway and Health Review Commission.

The 195,000-square-foot perishables facility, which uses anhydrous ammonia as a refrigerant, services the company's Riverside division here.

Penn Traffic said, "We have a very safe working environment for our DuBois warehouse employees. We have never had an injury at this warehouse stemming from the alleged violations of OSHA regulations.

"We take employee safety and compliance with OSHA regulations very seriously and continue to review this matter. We won't comment further because it is Penn Traffic's policy not to comment on matters that are in litigation. However, we plan to continue to cooperate with OSHA."

OSHA said the violations were originally discovered during an inspection in August 2000.

According to John Stranahan, area director of the OSHA office in Erie, Pa., that conducted the investigation, "Most of the serious violations address this employer's failure to develop and implement an effective process safety-management program, [which] is intended to prevent or minimize the consequences of a catastrophic release of toxic, reactive, flammable or explosive hazardous chemicals."

According to OSHA, the 30 alleged violations included the following:

22 serious health violations, with a proposed penalty of $114,500, related to Penn Traffic's alleged failure to develop and implement an effective safety-management program, including lack of employee involvement, incomplete process safety information, incomplete process hazard analysis, failure to develop operating procedures and lack of training for process operations.

One repeat health violation, with a penalty of $25,000, for allegedly failing to train each employee in maintaining the ongoing integrity of process equipment.

Four other-than-serious health violations that carry no penalty, involving alleged failure to maintain an employee injury and illness log, failure to prepare a report of incident investigations, failure to establish a system to resolve incident report findings and failure to retain such reports for five years.

Two serious safety violations, which carry a combined penalty of $4,000, relating to the alleged lockout/tagout program that is designed to avoid inadvertent or unexpected release of stored energy in machines or equipment.

One other-than-serious safety violation, with a penalty of $1,000, for allegedly failing to provide abatement certification from a previous inspection.