August 13, 2007
Contact: Dan Fuqua Michael Wald
Phone: (404) 562-2078 (404) 562-2076
Koch Foods of Cumming cited with numerous serious and repeat violations
ATLANTA -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $253,500 in penalties against Koch Foods of Cumming, Ga., for 34 safety and health violations.
A joint safety and health inspection was conducted as part of OSHA's Site-Specific Targeting Program, which targets the nation's most hazardous workplaces for inspection based on their histories of having high numbers of injuries and illnesses.
"The large proposed penalty for the plant reflects management's continued failure to meet OSHA's standards for the safety and health of its employees," said Gei-Thae Breezley, director of the agency's Atlanta East Area Office. "When we inspected this plant in 2004, we found many of these same violations, and our current inspection showed that this plant has not made sufficient effort to correct them."
The facility was cited for 11 repeat safety and health violations resulting in penalties totaling $187,500. Among the violations were not providing guardrails, failing to keep exit routes free of objects, improperly maintaining electrical boxes and not providing an emergency eye wash station for employees handling corrosive materials.
In addition, the plant was cited for 20 serious safety and health violations and three other violations with penalties totaling $66,000. These included employees operating a forklift without a seatbelt, failing to conduct regular inspections of forklifts, unguarded machinery that exposed employees to amputation hazards and lack of effort to protect employees from noise exposure.
The company has 15 working days to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The Cumming plant was inspected by staff from OSHA's Atlanta East Area Office, 2183 Northlake Parkway, Building 7, Suite 110, Tucker, Ga.; telephone (770) 493-6644.
OSHA's mission is to assure the safety and health of America's working men and women by preventing injuries, illnesses and fatalities. The agency has a vigorous enforcement program, having conducted 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 www.osha.gov.
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