Region 1 News Release: BOS 2000-004
Wednesday, January 5, 2000
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
PHONE :(617) 565-2074
OSHA CITES NORTH HAVEN, CONN., GROCERY DISTRIBUTION CENTER FOR ALLEGED SERIOUS AND REPEAT SAFETY & HEALTH VIOLATIONS; OVER $64,000 IN TOTAL PENALTIES PROPOSED
The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. - Distribution Center, located at 300 Montowese Avenue in North Haven, Connecticut, for alleged Serious, Repeat and Other than Serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act following concurrent safety and health inspections conducted in November 1999. As a result of the two inspections OSHA has proposed combined penalties against the company totaling $64,175.
According to Clifford S. Weston, OSHA area director in Bridgeport, the alleged violations encompass a cross-section of safety and health hazards involving energized electrical parts, unguarded moving machine parts, inadequate fall protection, missing eyewash stations, blocked access to an exit and insufficient protection for employees operating forklift trucks. The inspection also identified numerous inadequacies in the facility's programs for process safety management, bloodborne pathogens, and locking out power sources before performing maintenance on machinery.
Specifically, the combined citations and proposed penalties for both inspections incorporate the following:
Fourteen alleged Serious violations, accounting for $38,775 in proposed fines, for:
- failure to provide a place of employment free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious harm in that employees were operating forklift trucks without wearing a manufacturer-supplied operator restraint system;
- unguarded floor and platform openings; a blocked exit door; unsecured propane tanks;
- failure to develop procedures to lock out a conveyor system's power source prior to employees performing maintenance on it and failure to instruct affected employees in the purpose and use of such procedures;
- unguarded nip points on a conveyor system; unenclosed chains and sprockets;
- live parts in an electrical cabinet were not deenergized prior to employees performing maintenance; no written procedures for locking out a cabinet's electrical circuits prior to maintenance; improper handling of conductive tools; missing grounding pin on a saw;
- incomplete and inadequate process safety management program for the ammonia refrigeration system in the facility's meat distribution center; failure to implement safe work practices; no written verification of process safety management training; failure to ensure that employees expected to respond to ammonia leaks were trained at the appropriate level;
- eyewash stations not provided at all required locations;
- no written determination of which employees would be exposed to blood or body fluids in the course of their duties, inadequate training in the bloodborne pathogen standard for said employees, and failure to make the Hepatitis B vaccine available to said employees.
Three alleged Repeat violations, with a proposed penalty of $25,400, for:
- unguarded live parts on electrical equipment;
- inadequate strain relief on electrical cords;
- containers of hazardous chemical not labeled with identity and hazard warning.
[The company had previously been cited for violations of these OSHA standards or their equivalent in citations issued, respectively, March 21, 1997, following an inspection at a Colchester, Conn., worksite, February 9, 1999, following an inspection at a Readville, Mass., worksite and April 16, 1999, following an inspection at the Readville worksite].
The inspections also resulted in the issuance of eighteen Other than Serious violations, with no penalties proposed, encompassing electrical, hazard communication, labeling, fire extinguisher and signage issues.
Weston encouraged Connecticut employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards to contact the OSHA area offices in Bridgeport or Hartford and added that OSHA's toll-free, nationwide hotline --1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742)-- may be used to report workplace accidents or fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, especially if they occur outside of normal business hours.
A serious violation is defined by OSHA as 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.
An other-than-serious violation is a condition which would probably not cause death or serious physical harm but would have a direct and immediate relationship to the safety and health of employees.
A repeated violation is defined by OSHA as one where, upon reinspection, a substantially similar violation is found.
OSHA is empowered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to issue standards and rules requiring employers to provide their employees with safe and healthful workplaces and jobsites, and to assure through workplace inspections that those standards are followed.
The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to either elect to comply with them, to request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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The information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (617) 565-2072. TDD (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf) Message Referral Phone: 800-347-8029.