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OSHA News Release
Region 2

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Region 2 News Release: 07-1385-NEW/BOS 2007-249
Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2007
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: (617) 565-2074

Sodus, N.Y., cold storage warehouse faces more than $40,000 in fines from U.S. Labor Department's OSHA following worker injury

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- A Sodus, N.Y., cold storage warehouse faces a total of $40,150 in proposed fines from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) following a March 21 incident in which an employee was injured when his hand became caught in an unguarded augur on a conveyor system. Sodus Cold Storage Co. Inc. was cited for 18 alleged willful, serious and other-than-serious safety and health violations.

"Machine guarding is an essential safeguard designed to prevent any part of an employee's body from coming in contact with or being caught in the moving parts of machinery,' said Christopher Adams, OSHA's area director in Syracuse. 'In this case, failure to maintain the guard on the auger resulted in a serious incident in which an employee was needlessly injured."

As a result of its investigation, OSHA issued the company one willful citation, with a proposed fine of $28,000, for failing to guard the augur. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.

The company also was issued 15 serious citations, with $12,150 in proposed fines, for failing to: develop and use lockout/tagout procedures to prevent the accidental startup of machinery; provide an emergency eye wash station; provide forklift training and properly maintain forklifts; label hazardous chemicals; ensure that an exit door was not locked; provide written process safety procedures, inspections, testing and training for the building's ammonia refrigeration piping system; maintain a dry floor in the freezer; provide overhead piping low-clearance signs for fork trucks; guard an exhaust fan; guard belts and pulleys on machinery; and guard electrical wiring. A serious violation is defined as creating a substantial possibility that death or serious physical harm can result.

Two other-than-serious citations were issued for failing to provide strain relief on a power cord and to maintain adequate exit access width. An other-than-serious violation is a hazardous condition 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 company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA's area director or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The investigation was conducted by OSHA's Syracuse Area Office located at 3300 Vickery Road in North Syracuse; telephone (315) 451-0808.

OSHA operates a vigorous enforcement program, conducting more than 38,000 inspections last year and exceeding its inspection goals in each of the last seven years. In fiscal year 2006, OSHA found nearly 84,000 violations of its standards and regulations.

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 assure the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit


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