Massachusetts Food Plant Cited by OSHA After Worker Death

June 21, 2012

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited a Massachusetts food plant where a worker was killed with nearly 20 safety violations, labor officials said.

The U.S. Department of Labor announced Monday that OSHA’s investigation of Tribe Mediterranean Foods Inc. found it failed to train the worker and six others on hazardous-energy control procedures, which shut down machines before maintenance or cleaning. The department said the company also was cited for failing to conduct periodic inspections of the procedures and having an exposed chain and sprocket on a conveyor at the plant, which makes hummus, a popular Middle Eastern chickpea dip.

The department, in response to what it called the willful and repeat violations and the “nature of the hazards,” has placed the company on its Severe Violator Enforcement Program. The program mandates specific follow-up inspections in an effort to ensure the plant and its operations are in compliance with the law.

Tribe Mediterranean Foods is reviewing the OSHA citations. A spokeswoman said Monday that the company “deeply regrets” the December accident in which 28-year-old plant worker Daniel Callazo was pulled into a machine he was cleaning and was killed. She said the company remains committed to the health and safety of its employees.

The company faces more than $700,000 in proposed fines and has 15 business days to contest the findings before an independent review commission.

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