Milk Specialties Co. in Whitehall, Wis., has agreed to pay $535,000 in penalties as part of a legal settlement with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration after being cited with willful, repeat and serious violations concerning combustible dust hazards, untrained employees working in potentially dangerous areas and a lack of proper permits for working in confined spaces.
OSHA began a December 2008 inspection in response to a complaint alleging a variety of safety hazards at the company’s whey processing plant. Willful citations were issued for the employer’s failure to comply with OSHA’s confined space entry and control of hazardous energy requirements. Untrained employees entered confined spaces and performed maintenance and cleaning on powered equipment without protection from various hazards. Penalties for the nine willful violations total $504,000.
Seventeen serious citations, with penalties totaling $21,855, address combustible dust and electrical hazards; lack of exit route lighting and signage; lack of confined space evaluations; uninspected fire extinguishers; and untrained and uncertified powered industrial truck operators, among other issues.
Four repeat violations with penalties totaling $9,145 address the guarding of floor and wall openings, ladders and respiratory protection, and other issues addressed in previous inspections of this company.
Milk Specialties has been inspected by OSHA 15 times since 1974, including four inspections in Wisconsin between 2006 and 2008, with citations resulting from many of the same safety and health hazards cited in the most recent inspection.
The company engages in the research, development and manufacture of protein and fat products for nutritional applications and feeding regimes that include products such as pasteurized milk extenders, spray-dried protein encapsulated fats, dried whey permeates, and condensed whey and liquid whey products.
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