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March 08, 2023
Georgia manufacturer faces $423K OSHA fine

A LaFayette, Georgia, insulation manufacturer faces Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fines totaling $423,432 after a line operator suffered severe head trauma after being caught in a machine’s roller, the agency announced March 6. OSHA cited Bonded Logic Inc. for 2 willful, 2 repeat, and 10 serious violations.

Agency inspectors found the employer willfully failed to develop and use lockout/tagout procedures to prevent machines from sudden starts or movements during maintenance and did not control the release of stored energy while machines were serviced.

They also identified repeat violations for not installing safety guards on machines and failing to certify forklift operators and cited the company for failing to:

  • Conduct an evaluation to identify permit-required confined spaces, and develop and implement a permit-required confined space program.
  • Train employees on the hazards associated with permit-required confined spaces, and complete entry permits before entering those spaces.
  • Ensure energy control devices were applied to all energy sources during maintenance or servicing.  
  • Maintain proper guarding of chains and sprockets on machinery.

The agency previously inspected Bonded Logic in 2018 and 2021, issuing three serious and five other-than-serious violations for hazards associated with eye protection, machine guarding, housekeeping, powered industrial trucks, and confined spaces.

Del Monte facing $223K fine following amputation

Walnut Creek, California-based Del Monte Foods, Inc., faces proposed OSHA penalties totaling $222,779 after a seasonal worker at its Plover, Wisconsin, cannery suffered a partial finger amputation after attempting to unjam an unguarded palletizer machine.

The company informed OSHA of the amputation within the required 24 hours, and upon responding to the report, agency inspectors determined the cannery’s lack of machine guarding and safety procedures exposed employees to machine hazards. OSHA cited the company in 2019 for similar violations at a facility in Markesan, Wisconsin, and it cited Del Monte for two repeat and six serious safety violations at the Plover cannery.

Investigators learned that workers at the Plover cannery routinely used their hands to redirect pallets stuck in the palletizer’s dispenser. A pallet dispenser automatically dispenses pallets to the palletizing line so that canned products can be stacked and wrapped for transportation. Investigators found that employees clearing jams had not been trained to recognize or safely control hazardous energy sources before unjamming the palletizing line.

OSHA’s control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout (29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) §1910.147)) and machine guarding (§1910.212) standards are among the agency’s top 10 most frequently cited standards.

“Del Monte Foods Inc. is aware of the importance of training their seasonal workers on machine safety procedures and making sure required machine safeguards are in place,” Robert Bonack, OSHA’s Appleton, Wisconsin, area office director, said in an agency statement.

There is an ongoing food manufacturing industry local emphasis program (LEP) in OSHA’s Appleton, Eau Claire, Madison, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, area OSHA offices.

LI thermometer manufacturer cited for mercury exposures

OSHA cited a Long Island thermometer manufacturer for overexposing its employees to mercury at a West Babylon, New York, facility. The agency cited Kessler Thermometer Corp. with 21 health and safety violations—1 willful, 18 serious, and 2 other-than-serious violations—and proposed $195,988 in penalties.

Agency inspectors found the company willfully exposed and severely sickened workers by allowing the airborne concentration of mercury to exceed the 8-hour, time-weighted average based on biological exposure indices. According to OSHA, the company failed to provide:

  • Engineering controls to reduce mercury exposure,
  • Effective chemical hazard communication and respiratory protection programs,
  • Appropriate personal protective equipment and clothing,
  • An emergency response plan to handle cleanup of spilled mercury,
  • Eating and food storage areas free of mercury exposure,
  • An emergency shower and appropriate first aid,  
  • Proper labeling for all hazardous chemical containers,
  • Complete records of all recordable work-related injuries and illnesses, and
  • Report of a work-related incident resulting in in-patient hospitalization due to mercury poisoning.
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