US Labor Department's OSHA cites Gateway Cold Storage
for 5 safety violations
Workers unable to open exit doors at Illinois food warehouse
VALMEYER, Ill. – Freezer Refrigerated Storage, which operates as Gateway Cold Storage, has been cited for five safety violations after the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that workers were unable to open exit doors from the inside at the Valmeyer food storage facility. Proposed penalties total $47,160.
"It's unacceptable to maintain an environment where employees are unable to access emergency exit doors and routes," said Karl Armstrong, OSHA's assistant area director in Fairview Heights. "OSHA is committed to ensuring the safety of America's workers on the job."
A willful violation was issued because employees could not open the exit doors from the inside. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirement, or plain indifference to employee safety and health.
OSHA initiated the inspection of the facility in August 2013 under the powered industrial vehicle local emphasis program.
Three serious violations involve failing to maintain emergency exit routes free of blockage and obstacles; maintain safeguards, such as working exit lighting; and training forklift operators about safe forklift operation rules.
An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.
One other-than-serious violation was cited for exposing unqualified workers to electrical shock by leaving panel boards open. 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.
Gateway Cold Storage 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. The company was previously cited for forklift safety violations in 2011.
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 Fairfield Heights Area Office at 618-632-8612.
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.
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