Region 6 News Release: USDL-OSHA-01-19-2-23
Friday, Feb. 23, 2001
Contact: Diana Petterson
Phone: (214) 767-4776, ext. 222
OSHA PROPOSES $161,550 PENALTY AGAINST MICHAEL ANGELO'S GOURMET FOODS, INC., IN AUSTIN FOR ALLEGED SAFETY VIOLATIONS.
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Michael Angelo's Gourmet Foods, Inc., in Austin, Texas, with 34 alleged safety violations and proposed penalties totaling $161,550, announced the U.S. Department of Labor.
Michael Angelo's Gourmet Foods is a frozen food manufacturer that employs about 615 workers in North Austin.
The alleged safety violations were discovered during an OSHA inspection that began Aug. 24, 2000 by a referral from an OSHA health inspector after a release of ammonia at the plant on Aug. 8, 2000. In a separate health investigation, OSHA issued $220,950 in proposed penalties to the company on Feb. 5 for 21 alleged health violations resulting from the ammonia release.
The company was cited for two willful, 20 alleged serious and 12 other-than-serious safety violations. The two willful violations involved failing to provide training and proper lockout/tagout procedures during cleaning and maintaining of machines to ensure that the energy sources from the machines could not be restarted; and failing to properly guard moving parts of machinery. Willful violations are those committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety & Health Act and regulations.
The company was also cited with 20 alleged serious safety violations, some of which include failing to follow federal regulations regarding process safety management of the ammonia system, control of hazardous energy while servicing machines, machine guarding, electrical hazards and other safety issues. A serious violation is one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
The 12 alleged other-than-serious safety violations involve hazardous conditions that would probably not cause death or serious physical harm but would have a direct and immediate relationship to the safety and health of employees.
The Aug. 11, 2000 investigation regarding the 21 alleged health citations, issued to the company on Feb. 5, was in response to an evacuation an ammonia release that resulted in 12 food production workers requiring medical attention. The ammonia release occurred on Aug. 8, 2000.
The three alleged willful violations of OSHA's health standards include failing to provide personal protective equipment, failing to provide training in response to hazardous chemical releases and failing to maintain a permitting system to ensure that employees entering confined spaces could not be overcome by hazardous atmospheres. The 18 alleged serious health violations involve failing to follow hazardous waste and emergency response preparation, respiratory protection standards and permit required confined space provisions.
"OSHA investigators found machine safety interlocks deliberately bypassed in order to speed up production and maintenance work on machinery that was not properly locked out of service putting employees at risk for amputations and other serious injuries," said Paul L. Brantley, OSHA area director in Austin. "Preventable injuries were occurring in the plant and the employer did not take prompt corrective action to reduce these injuries."
Michael Angelo's Gourmet Foods has 15 working days from the receipt of the citations to either comply, request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA Austin area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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