Sept. 10, 2015 BOS 2015-164
Recurring hazards at Wegmans Food Markets Inc. bakery
in Rochester, New York, injure 2 workers
OSHA proposes more than $188K in fines for supermarket chain
BUFFALO, N.Y. - Wegmans Food Markets Inc. bills itself as an industry leader and innovator. However, recurring hazards at its 1500 Brooks Ave. bakery in Rochester - and injuries to two workers - suggest a need for the supermarket chain to address workplace safety for its employees.
In March 2015, a sanitation crew member lost his fingertip when it caught in the pinch point of an operating conveyor that he was cleaning. A month later, a mechanic sustained a first degree burn on his wrist when steam released while he attempted to repair a valve.
A recent inspection by the Buffalo Area Office of the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration identified hazardous conditions similar to those cited by the agency during a 2011 inspection. OSHA cited Wegmans on Sept. 1 for three repeated and two serious violations. Proposed fines total $188,200.
"If Wegmans had used proper safeguards, these preventable injuries would not have happened," said Michael Scime, OSHA's area director in Buffalo. "The company must take corrective action at all locations to ensure that hazards, such as these - and the injuries that result - are eliminated."
In the case of the amputation, OSHA found that Wegmans failed to turn off and lock out the conveyor's power source, train employees in how to do this, and ensure the conveyor's moving parts were protected against contact. In the steam burn incident, the company failed to develop a procedure to lockout the valve supplying steam to the pipe. The recurring hazards led the agency to cite Wegmans for three repeated violations with $175,000 in proposed fines.
OSHA cited the company for inadequate hand and face protection for the employees who worked on the steam valve, with fines amounting to $13,200 for the two serious violations.
View the citations here*.
Wegmans, an 86-store supermarket chain, has headquarters in Gates and stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report amputations, eye loss, workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Buffalo office at 716- 551-3053.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
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Ted Fitzgerald, 617-565-2075, firstname.lastname@example.org
Release Number: 15-1734-NEW
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