Chile trains fruit workers in safe ammonia handling
Chile’s Fruit Exporters Association (ASOEX) and the agricultural, health and labor ministries have produced a training document to help prevent worker accidents at fruit plants, industrial packing houses and orchards.
Agriculture Minister Luis Mayol, said although Chile is the largest Southern Hemisphere fruit exporter it lacked an official approach on the safe handling of ammonia.
Luis Figueroa died in Los Nobles S.A.’s fruit packing factory in Codehua in the VI (O’Higgins) region, where 18 other workers were also affected.
Labor minister Evelyn Matthei said the government wanted future facilities to ensure the “health and safety”of workers.
“We’ve had several accidents involving ammonia, one fatal and had 42 workers in Codehua seriously affected over the last two years, which led us to working together with industry and the agriculture, health and work ministeries to work out what regulations are required in plants using ammonia.”
She stressed only qualified people should be allowed to install refrigeration units and in future workers would be checked to ensure they had the right training and certificates.
ASOEX president Ronald Bown, said the guide was applicable to more than 50,000 agribusiness workers and their families.
“The industry has a clear mission and vision regarding sustainability, and this means having good agricultural practices in terms of safety, environmental protection and corporate social responsibility and caring for our employees.”
ASOEX is working on a video to about safe use of amonia to support training lectures.