OSHA fines Nebraska company $180K for 37 violations

RP news wires, Noria Corporation
Tags: workplace safety

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Premium Protein Products of Hastings, Neb., for 37 alleged safety and health violations and proposed penalties totaling $180,900.

OSHA opened a health inspection of the meat processing facility in October 2006 after receiving information alleging violations of OSHA’s Process Safety Management (PSM) Standard, as well as powered industrial truck hazards. A referral from the investigating compliance officer resulted in the safety inspection.

“Employers must provide a safe and healthful working environment and ensure that all employees are protected from hazardous conditions,” said Charles E. Adkins, OSHA’s regional administrator in Kansas City, Mo. “This employer is well aware of the standards that protect employees from the hazards we found during our inspection, yet did not comply with them.”

One alleged willful health citation is for the employer’s failure to inspect and test the two anhydrous ammonia systems within the facility, and to correct deficiencies in the systems.

Sixteen alleged serious health violations address hazards including PSM deficiencies; deficiencies with permits required for confined spaces; failure to develop and implement an emergency action plan; failure to provide refresher training for hazardous material technicians; failure to provide personal protective equipment; failure to provide a respiratory protection program; and failure to develop and implement a hazard communication program.

Nineteen alleged serious safety violations address hazards associated with machine guarding deficiencies; failure to use seatbelts on powered industrial trucks; failure to train powered industrial truck operators; failure to provide fall protection; failure to provide a safe working surface; failure to provide adequate lockout/tagout procedures; failure to perform periodic inspections of the lockout/tagout program; failure to replace damaged and exposed welding leads; and various electrical deficiencies.

One alleged other-than-serious health violation addresses failure to properly record injuries and illnesses.

Willful violations are those committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Serious violations are those where death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard. Other-than-serious violations have a direct relationship to job safety and health but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

Premium Protein Products has 15 working days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the citations before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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