October 1, 2007
Contact: Scott Allen
Phone: (312) 353-6976
Federal agency proposes $248,000 in penalties against meat processing business
ABBOTSFORD, Wis. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed $248,000 in fines against Abbyland Foods Inc., a meat processing company located in Abbotsford, Wis., for alleged multiple willful and serious violations of federal workplace safety standards.
OSHA issued citations for three willful violations with proposed penalties totaling $210,000. The citations allege that the company failed to provide proper audiograms and training to all employees exposed to hazardous noise levels; to properly enforce hearing protection requirements; and to utilize proper lockout/tagout procedures for equipment receiving servicing in order to prevent accidental start-ups.
OSHA also issued 11 citations to Abbyland Foods Inc. for serious violations with proposed penalties of $37,000. These address slippery floors and open-sided platforms; failure to have handrails on stairways; failure to implement a noise monitoring program; personal protective equipment use and storage; entering confined spaces; failure to conduct adequate annual inspections of energy control program; failure to conduct periodic evaluations and refresher training for powered industrial vehicle drivers; availability of adequate medical treatment; failure to ensure proper training for employees exposed to bloodborne pathogens; and failure to provide adequate machine guarding.
OSHA also issued three other-than-serious citations with a proposed penalty of $1,000 to the company for having obstructed exit doors, an unguarded shaft and improper recordkeeping.
OSHA has inspected Abbyland Foods Inc. five times and issued it 38 other citations since 1997. OSHA initiated this latest inspection when it learned that an employee's finger had been amputated at the plant. The company has approximately 300 employees.
"Injuries, such as amputation, and fatalities from accidents are preventable," said Melvin Lischefski, OSHA's area director in Appleton, Wis. "Employers must remain dedicated to keeping the workplace safe and healthful or face intense scrutiny by OSHA."
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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