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January 08, 2024
Pepsi bottler agrees to pay $132K in OSHA fines

Pepsi Guam Bottling agreed to pay $132,591 in Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) penalties to settle safety and health citations for exposing employees to amputation and other serious injuries, the agency announced January 3.

Last year, OSHA cited Pepsi Guam Bottling with one willful, one repeat, and six serious violations of machine safety procedures after an inspection found that the employer had disabled safety devices, allowing workers to reach into a bottle-labeling machine as often as 15 times an hour to grab and fix labels and adjust tipping bottles to avoid slowing or stopping production. OSHA proposed penalties of $180,807.

Under the settlement agreement with the Department of Labor (DOL), Pepsi Guam Bottling will abate the safety failures found in OSHA’s investigation and: 

  • Develop a written, comprehensive safety and health program.
  • Allow a warrantless inspection of the facility, which must be completed within the next 12 months.
  • Form a safety and health committee consisting of management and employees.
  • Provide heat stress training to its employees.

“Pepsi Guam Bottling’s agreement to boost its workplace safety protocols will help protect employees and put workers on an equal footing thanks to their inclusion in a new safety and health committee,” James Wulff, OSHA’s region IX administrator, said in an agency statement. “OSHA will closely monitor the terms of this settlement agreement and provide any assistance needed or required to ensure compliance.”

“Empowering workers to take action on workplace safety is critically important,” Marc Pilotin, the DOL’s regional solicitor, said. “The creation of a joint employee-management safety committee to improve this company’s safety culture in Guam will be crucial to prevent avoidable injuries or calamities.”

OSHA, Cal/OSHA renew operating agreement

OSHA has renewed its Operational Status Agreement (OSA) with the California State Plan, the agency announced January 5 (89 Fed. Reg. 702).

California administers an OSHA-approved state plan to develop and enforce occupational safety and health standards for public sector and private sector employers. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) proposes and enforces state standards. The state’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (OSHSB) reviews and approves Cal/OSHA’s proposed standards and revisions.

The OSA details the enforcement jurisdiction delegated to the state and what enforcement authority federal OSHA retains. The renewed OSA clarifies the extent and limits of each agency’s authority.

Federal OSHA retains enforcement authority within U.S. military installations when the installations’ boundaries are “secured” and access is controlled. California continues to have enforcement authority over state and local government employers on military installations.

The OSA renewal defines the “federal enclaves” over which federal OSHA retains enforcement authority and revises the specific list of recognized federal enclaves to ensure it’s up to date.

The OSA clarifies the scope of federal OSHA enforcement authority over employers operating on Native American reservations or trust lands. California continues to have enforcement authority over state and local government employers operating on such lands and over tribal member employers operating outside tribal lands.

The OSA also clarifies the definition of “maritime employment” over which federal OSHA maintains enforcement authority, which includes all afloat dredging and pile-driving and similar operations on navigable waters and all floating drilling platforms on navigable waters.

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