Wis-Pak Foods - Executive Summary

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The owners, management, and employees of Wis-Pak Foods are committed to the prevention of any accidental release of ammonia.  Wis-Pak Foods' policy is to adhere to all applicable Federal and State rules and regulations in order to 1) prevent unnecessary human exposure, 2) reduce the threat to employees' health, and 3) reduce the threat to nearby members of the community. 
Safety depends upon the safety devices inherent in the design of the operation, the safe handling procedures used, the training of personnel, and the manner in which an accidental release is handled. 
Wis-Pak Foods is a meat processing plant, blending, grinding, and portioning meat products.  There is one regulated process at Wis-Pak Foods, the use of anhydrous ammonia for refrigeration.  There are two anhydrous ammonia systems at the facility with a total of approximately 50,400 pounds of anhydrous ammonia. 
Case Release Scenario: 
Wis-Pak Foods used the EPA's "Risk Management Program Guidance for Ammonia Refrigeration" to determine the worst-case release scenario.  Failure of the largest vessel would release 166 pounds of ammonia per minute.  Standard operating procedures limit the filling of this vessel to 90% of capacity.  This vessel is located inside the engine room at the facility.  Therefore, the room was considered passive mitigation and would reduce the distance to the endpoint for the worst-case release.  From the EPA guidance document, it is assumed that the release will last for ten minutes and reach an endpoint of 200 ppm a distance of 0.42 mile.  Although during filling this vessel can be up to 90% full, during normal operating conditions, the vessel is approximately 30% full.  Therefore, it is very unlikely for the worst-case release scenario to occur. 
Alternative Release Scenario: 
Wis-Pak Foods used the EPA's "Risk Management Program Guidance for Ammonia Refrigeration" to c 
alculate an alternative release scenario.  Wis-Pak Foods chose the failure of a transfer hose as an alternative release scenario.  Failure of a liquid ammonia transfer hose connected to a service valve with 1/4 inch pipe threads could release 189 pounds of ammonia per minute over a 10 minute period.  The distance to the endpoint of 200 ppm is 0.1 mile. 
The Wis-Pak Foods facility complies with OSHA's Process Safety Management and EPA's Accidental Release Rule and all applicable State codes and regulations. 
Operators of the anhydrous ammonia system have been trained by the Refrigeration Engineers and Technicians Association (RETA) and attend monthly RETA sessions.  Properly trained Wis-Pak Foods' personnel conduct daily inspections and maintenance activities on the ammonia systems.  Wis-Pak Foods has ammonia detectors in place for early detection of a release or leak. 
There was a release of approximately 77 pounds of a 
mmonia on February 16, 1999 at the Wis-Pak Foods facility.  The fire department was notified and responded and approximately 500 people were evacuated from the area as a precautionary measure.  There were no injuries but seven peoply were treated and released from the local hospital.  Wis-Pak Foods and OSHA conducted investigations of the incident and Wis-Pak has subsequently made modifications to operating procedures and training according to recommendations. 
There have been no other accidental releases of ammonia in the past five years. 
Wis-Pak Foods implements an Emergency Action Plan in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.38.  Employees receive training on an annual basis.  The facility will notify the fire department in the event of an emergency. 
Wis-Pak Foods believes that safety improvement is an on-going process at the facility.  Improvements to the program will be made as the opportunity arises.
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