Department of Labor Logo OSHA News Release - Region 5


January 18, 2024

 

US Labor Department investigation finds Ohio food warehouse exposed workers to ergonomic hazards

Martin-Brower LLC warehouse workers load materials bound for fast food franchises

 

FAIRFIELD, OH – Federal inspectors examining injury and illness records at a Fairfield food services warehouse found workers suffered severe injuries at nearly four times the average rate for their industry, with a high percentage of these injuries categorized as ergonomic musculoskeletal disorders.

Inspectors with the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration found workers at The Martin-Brower Co. LLC performed manual material handling lifting tasks involving repeated hazardous forceful exertions and awkward postures, which placed them at risk for low back injuries. These workers move and load materials bound for fast food restaurants in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia.

"OSHA found Martin-Brower Co. workers at high risk for musculoskeletal disorders because of the high frequency, long duration of hours worked, awkward postures, and weight of materials being lifted," said OSHA Area Director Ken Montgomery in Cincinnati. "Work-related musculoskeletal disorders are among the most frequently reported causes of lost or restricted work time."

Martin-Brower's total recordable injury rate at the Fairfield facility was nearly four times higher from 2020 through 2023 than the industry average of 5.4 per 100 workers in 2021 for grocery and related wholesale products companies. The Fairfield facility's recordable injury rate for cases that involved days away, restriction, or transfer of employees was four times higher from 2021 through 2023 than the industry average of 4.1 per 100 workers. During this time period, the rate of severe ergonomic injuries alone at the Fairfield facility was at least two times higher than the industry average for all categories of severe injury and illness cases.

The agency cited the Fairfield warehouse for three serious violations and proposed $41,483 in penalties and issued 4 hazard alert letters. The company was cited under the General Duty Clause for failing to provide a workplace free of known hazards by repeatedly exposing workers to known ergonomic hazards. OSHA also issued citations for exposing workers to fire and struck by hazards.

Based in Rosemont, Illinois, 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.

Learn more about OSHA and preventing musculoskeletal disorders and injuries

 

Media Contacts:

Scott Allen, 312-353-4727, allen.scott@dol.gov 
Rhonda Burke, 312-353-4807, burke.rhonda@dol.gov

Release Number 24-32-CHI