Olé Mexican Foods cited for more than $150,000 by US Labor Department's OSHA
for exposing workers to amputation and other hazards
Editor's Note: This re-posted press release clarifies the citations issued and proposed penalty amounts in the case.
NORCROSS, Ga. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Olé Mexican Foods Inc. for two repeat, 14 serious and four other-than-serious safety and health violations following a June complaint inspection at the company's corporate headquarters in Norcross. Proposed penalties total $151,030.
"This employer received citations for the same hazards earlier and did not correct them. Additionally, amputation and caught-in hazards remained, posing a risk of serious injury or even death for their workers," said William Fulcher, director of OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office. "These hazards must be eliminated immediately from the workplace."
The repeat violations, with $77,000 in penalties, involve failing to ensure workers performing equipment servicing and maintenance understood the energy control program and procedures and those for caught-in and amputation hazards from the points of operation on equipment in the production area. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. The same violations were cited in 2011.
The serious safety and health violations, totaling $73,030 in penalties, involve failing to clearly and specifically outline the energy control procedures for all energy sources on the mixers and production equipment; instruct each affected worker on the purpose and scope of the energy control program; ensure authorized workers in the energy control program were utilizing lockout procedures when performing service on mixers; cover drainage troughs and guarded platforms to prevent trip and fall hazards; prevent exposure to amputation and caught-in hazards from protruding shaft ends and unguarded chain and sprockets; and ensure unobstructed exit routes. Other violations include failing to ensure workers spraying corrosive chemicals use splash goggles; provide an emergency eyewash station; provide appropriate hand protection; and conduct audiograms for temporary workers exposed to noise levels in excess of permissible exposure limits. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
The other-than-serious violations, with $1,100 in penalties, involve failing to store supplies properly against the wall of the spray booth; establish a written exposure control plan for workers trained and expected to perform first aid; and for allowing lockout locks to be used other than for energy control; and not properly recording injuries on OSHA's 300 log. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm. The citations can be viewed at
Olé Mexican Foods Inc. is a tortilla manufacturing facility that mixes and produces flour and corn dough to make tortillas, tostadas and chips for restaurant distribution. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's Atlanta-East area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report 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.
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.
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille or CD from the COAST office upon request by calling 216-893-7828 or TTY 216-893-7755.
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