OSHA Cites Ga. Facility for Workplace Safety Hazards

November 10, 2005

The U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Birds Eye Foods and proposed penalties totaling $60,275 for safety and health hazards at the company’s Montezuma, Ga., plant.

“This inspection was conducted under OSHA’s local emphasis program to reduce employee exposure to hazards commonly found at fruit and vegetable processing plants,” said John Deifer, OSHA’s Savannah area director. “Preventing worker exposure to accidental releases of ammonia is one goal of the program.”

The company received 24 serious citations for alleged violations observed during the June inspection. Cited items include failing to properly locate ammonia pressure release discharge piping and provide workers with current, updated process safety management information.

OSHA also cited Birds Eye for reportedly exposing workers to: fall hazards from unguarded roof edges, floor openings and stairways; electrical shocks from defective equipment and allowing non-qualified employees to work on the equipment; “caught-by” injuries from unguarded machinery; and other injuries by failing to provide personal protective equipment.

The agency issues serious citations when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew or should have known of the hazards.

Birds Eye has 15 working days to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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