N.Y. Food Plant Cited by OSHA

May 5, 2005

A Mexico, N.Y., food plant’s alleged failure to safeguard workers against the accidental startup of machinery and other industrial hazards has resulted in a total of $43,350 in proposed penalties from the U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Grandma Brown’s Beans Inc. was cited for 18 alleged willful and serious violations of workplace safety standards at its 5837 Scenic Ave. production plant. The citations result from an inspection conducted under the Syracuse OSHA office’s “Local Emphasis Program on Food Processing Industries.”

The inspection reportedly found that the company failed to develop a lockout/tagout program for machinery in the plant and also failed to guard two labeling machines to prevent employee contact with their moving parts. These citations, which carry $33,000 in proposed penalties, were classified as willful. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.

“The purpose of a lockout/tagout program is to ensure that machines are shut down and their power sources locked out before employees begin maintenance,” said Chris Adams, OSHA’s Syracuse area director. “Such a program is essential in preventing accidental startups that could seriously injure or kill workers.”

An additional $10,350 in fines was proposed for 16 serious citations. The citations address such hazards as failure to maintain lifting devices; lack of stair railings; failure to label confined spaces; lack of eye wash stations; lack of fire extinguisher training; failure to cover live electrical parts; ungrounded electrical equipment; lack of electrical safety training, and several other machine guarding hazards. A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm are likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply with them, to request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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