Dairy SPCC exemption, Under-Ride Hazards

These two items are not PSM related but they are of interest to those of us who work in Dairies and Cold Storage distribution warehouses and they are important enough that they merit wider discussion.

WASHINGTON.The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on April 12 exempted milk and milk product containers from the Oil Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule, a move that could potentially save the milk and dairy industries more than $140 million per year.

The regulation has been in place since the 1970s, and yesterday’s ruling for the first time will ensure all milk and milk products will be formally exempted.

After receiving feedback from the agriculture community, EPA determined that this unintended result of the current regulations designed to prevent oil spill damage to inland waters and shorelines placed unjustifiable burdens on dairy farmers. To ensure the outdated rule didn’t harm the agriculture community while the mandatory regulatory process proceeded, EPA had delayed SPCC compliance requirements for milk and milk product containers several times since the SPCC rule went into effect.

After working closely with dairy farmers and other members of the agricultural community, we’re taking commonsense steps to exempt them from a provision in this rule that simply shouldn’t apply to them. Despite the myths that have arisen about EPA’s intentions, our efforts have been solely focused on exempting milk and milk products from this regulation.and that exemption is now permanent,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. This step will relieve a potential burden from our nation’s dairy farms, potentially saving them money, and ensuring that EPA can focus on the pressing business of environmental and health protection.”

The final exemption applies to milk, milk product containers and milk production equipment. Because some of these facilities may still have oil storage subject to the spill prevention regulations, EPA also is amending the rule to exclude milk storage capacity from a facility’s total oil storage capacity calculation. EPA also is removing the compliance date requirements for the exempted containers.

Accident Description: The OSHA Cleveland Area Office investigated a fatality at a warehouse where a standup forklift operator was found pinned between the lower horizontal crossbar of a storage-rack shelving system and the interior of the operator’s compartment. The horizontal crossbar of the shelving system was 55 inches(140 centimeters) above the floor, while the top surface of the operator’s compartment was only 49 inches (124 centimeters) above the floor. This left a space of 6 inches (15 centimeters) between the crossbar and the top surface of the operator’s compartment. Although the forklift had an overhead guard, the shelving rack was not positioned at the same level as the guard to prevent the under-ride from occurring. When the operator traveled with the forks trailing, the forklift passed under the crossbar, which struck the operator above the waist and pinned his torso against a part of the operator’s compartment. The operator died of asphyxiation injuries.

About Brian Chapin

PSM / RMP Compliance Consultant
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