Nebraska Cold Storage Inc. has been fined more than $130,000 for safety violations at its Hastings facility.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the company for 14 safety violations, including exposing its employees to anhydrous ammonia.
Due to the serious risk involved, Nebraska Cold Storage Inc. has also been place in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
"Ammonia is considered a high health hazard because it can be corrosive to the skin, eyes and lungs. It is flammable at varying concentrations," said Bonita Winingham, OSHA's area director in Omaha. "Businesses that handle hazardous materials must take precautions to protect workers from exposure to chemicals, explosions and fire hazards."
The company, which provides basic storage and shipping services for frozen, refrigerated and perishable foods, underwent an inspection in March under OSHA's high-hazard local emphasis program.
The company has three weeks to appeal the decision or they must pay the $132,800 fine and participate in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program, allowing OSHA to inspect any of the employer's facilities if it has reasonable grounds to believe there are similar violations.