The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently cited Houston-based Amy Food Inc. with one willful, four serious, and three other-than-serious citations for exposing workers to possible amputation hazards at the company's Houston facility. Proposed penalties total $77,100. I'd like to think this isn't true – because I'm an Amy's fan – but unfortunately the citation seems to be true.
OSHA's Houston South Area Office initiated a safety inspection on Richey Street following a complaint alleging that several employees had suffered near amputation incidents while operating machinery. The investigation found that not only did the company fail to have an energy control program in place but also machines were not being unplugged from the electrical power source prior to maintenance and servicing. [WCx]
The willful violation has been issued for failing to develop, document, and utilize an energy control program. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health.
The serious violations include failing to provide required machine guarding on chains and sprockets, cover floor holes and openings, and adequately mark exit doors. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
The other-than-serious violations involve inadequate recordkeeping of injuries and illnesses on the OSHA 300 log. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
"This company exposed its workers to injuries, including possible amputation hazards, by failing to develop, document, and utilize an energy control program during the maintenance and servicing of machinery," said Mark Briggs, director of OSHA's Houston South Area Office. "Employer disregard for worker safety will not be tolerated." [WCx]
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's Houston South area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. He is an editor and contributor to Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
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