Jan. 20, 2016
Atlanta manufacturer of popular frozen foods takes quick action
in response to OSHA discovery of continued safety violations
Frozen food producer accepts $100K in penalties, enhanced safety compliance
ATLANTA - When U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors returned to an Atlanta food manufacturing facility and found previously cited hazards had reoccurred, the management of Schwan's Global Supply Inc. took an unusual step.
The subsidiary of The Schwan Food Company, a multibillion-dollar private company that sells popular frozen food brands through home delivery, the food service industry and grocery stores in North America, told OSHA the company accepted responsibility for the safety and health hazards and signed a pre-citation settlement agreement with OSHA on Jan. 15.
"We are very encouraged that Schwan recognized the safety failures that have reoccurred and is taking full responsibility," said Bill Fulcher, director of OSHA's Atlanta East Area Office. "The company settled the citations immediately and signed the enhanced compliance agreement as part of its commitment to protect its workers and operate safely. When employers are committed to safety, everyone wins."
OSHA cited Schwan, which manufactures frozen foods sold under several brand names, including Red Baron, Tony's and Freschetta pizza and Mrs. Smith's desserts, at its Atlanta facility, for four repeated, three serious and three other-than-serious safety and health violations.
The agency issued repeated citations for failing to:
- Ensure workers used safety procedures to prevent unexpected machine start up during maintenance and servicing.
- Ensure machinery was properly guarded.
- Implement safety procedures for the ammonia refrigeration systems.
OSHA previously cited Schwan Global Supply in 2013 for similar violations at the facility.
The agency issued serious citations to the company for failing to:
- Develop written emergency shutdown procedures for the refrigeration system.
- Train workers, technicians and first responders on emergency action plans or responder's duties for refrigerant spills at the facility.
Other violations include the employer not reviewing operating procedures at least annually and not conducting a respirator fit-test for a first responder.
In its settlement, Schwan Global Supply will pay penalties of $100,000. In addition, the agreement includes extensive enhancements and commitments for safety and health improvements such as:
- Assuring only authorized, properly trained employees perform service and maintenance on machinery.
- Hiring a third-party consultant to conduct an audit of the facility focused on equipment, fall, electrical and guarding hazards.
- Conducting training for employees on emergency shut-down, contractors, first-responder, standard operating procedures for new machinery and keeping OSHA 300 logs.
- Meeting with OSHA officials quarterly to discuss the status of compliance.
The citations can be viewed at:
Based in Marshall, Minnesota, the Schwan Food Company has approximately 14,000 employees nationwide. The company's Atlanta subsidiary produces dough, cookies and piecrusts for popular products with approximately 490 workers.
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 http://www.osha.gov.
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 Atlanta-East Area Office at 770-493-6644.
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Release Number: 16-28-ATL (19)
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