Swift & Company - Executive Summary
The accidental release prevention and emergency response policies at the plant consist of all regulations that are regulated by OSHA and the PSM program at the facility. Some of the refrigeration employees and some supervisors are trained in the 40 HAZMAT course to respond to accidental releases on a volunteer basis. Plans are in progress to have all refrigeration maintenance personnel attend an ammonia refrigeration school to teach them the operations and safety. These procedures are reviewed yearly to help insure that all problems are corrected. All refrigeration maintenance personnel currently go through ammonia refrigeration school to teach them the operations and safety. The preventative maintenance program is periodically reviewed and updated as the monitoring and repair on equipment is performed. This process has been of great benefit to the plant in finding problems in a timely manner. |
The Swift & Company plant in Worthington, MN, is a pork slaughter and processing facil
ity. The plant is defined by the EPA as a "Complex Slaughter" facility. Final products produced include: meat products, edible lard, inedible lard, dried blood and meat and bone meal. The regulated substance used at this facility that meets threshold quantities is anhydrous ammonia. Ammonia is used as a manufacturing aid in the refrigeration process. Refrigeration is used in processing and storing of the meat and meat products. The total calculated amount of anhydrous ammonia in the facility is equal to 141,342 pounds. This combined total is the result of equipment and piping in three separate systems within the plant.
The worst-case scenario for this facility is a rupture in the high pressure receiver resulting in a loss of the entire contents of 59,660 pounds of ammonia. This loss will occur within 10 minutes and the spilled liquid will vaporize at outside temperature releasing gas to the atmosphere. The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) has determined that the
maximum airborne concentration below which it is believed that nearly all individuals can be exposed for up to one hour without experiencing or developing irreversible or other serious health effects or symptoms which could impair an individual's ability to take protective action for anhydrous ammonia is 200 parts per million (ppm). Under the worse-case weather conditions with dispersion into an urban area, the distance that the release would travel before it no longer causes a health threat is 3890 meters (2.42 miles). There are no administrative controls on the high pressure receiver that would limit the amount of stored ammonia, however, the vessel is normally operated at 50% of its total capacity. Because of the facilities Process Safety Management (PSM) plan in place and the safety measures performed on a daily basis, a worst-case release is highly unlikely.
The more likely scenario for this facility is a release from a relief valve failure. Based on other facility experienc
es, a release of 200 pounds of ammonia refrigerant in a 60 minute period of time will vaporize at outside temperature releasing gas to the atmosphere. The distance that the release would travel before it no longer causes a health threat is 50 meters (0.03 Miles). This distance is at least to the property line of the facility.
The Swift & Company facility is in compliance with all OSHA PSM rules and this RMP rule requirements. The procedural and managerial steps that are in place are a preventative measure to accidental release prevention as well as maintenance and training programs that are in place.
There have been no releases at this facility in the past five years that have resulted in death, injuries, or property damage on site or in death, injuries, evacuations, sheltering in place, property damage, or environmental damage offsite.
The Swift & Company facility has an emergency response plan on file with Emergency Management Planning Action Committee (EMPAC). The facilities
HAZMAT team conducts regular drills and training of specialized personnel. The policies for reporting spills and releases is documented in the "Policies and Procedures" manual updated by the Corporate Environmental Operations office.
The ammonia compressor rooms of this facility are protected by monitoring systems. The facility will continue with HAZMAT training for plant personnel as a deterrent to toxic release danger.