US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Illinois pet food production and
packaging company for 23 health and safety violations; fines exceed $750,000
All-Feed Processing & Packaging failed to protect workers from dust and noise exposure
PEORIA, Ill. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited All-Feed Processing & Packaging Inc., headquartered in Alpha, for 23 safety and health violations at its pet food production and packaging facility in Galva, including willful violations of OSHA's air contaminant, respiratory protection and hearing conservation standards. Some violations were cited under OSHA's "general duty" clause, including failing to provide appropriate fire and explosion protection in locations where concentrations of combustible dust existed. Proposed fines total $758,450.
"Even after a powerful dust explosion and fire at this facility in 2009, along with a number of citations previously issued for similar conditions, All-Feed Processing & Packaging fails to comply with safety and health requirements," said OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels. "By showing a blatant disregard for worker safety and health, this employer continues to expose workers to deadly hazards."
OSHA issued nine per-instance willful citations for failing to mandate the use of respirators for six workers exposed to dust in excess of the permissible exposure limits; and failing to protect three dust collection units, which collect combustible dust such as starch, potato base, cellulose fiber and pea protein, from fire and explosion hazards.
Additionally, four single-instance willful citations were issued for requiring employees to work in areas where they were exposed to total dust in excess of permissible limits, together with failing to implement adequate engineering controls when employees were so exposed; failing to administer a continuing and effective hearing conservation program for employees exposed to excessive noise; failing to ensure the safe use, wiring and installation of equipment in hazardous locations; and allowing the use of liquid propane-powered industrial trucks in atmospheres where combustible dust may be ignited. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health. Proposed fines for the 13 willful violations total $700,700.
Three repeat safety violations were cited for failing to ensure that operators of powered industrial trucks had completed training and were evaluated on their skills, have the load rating affixed to lifting devices and post danger signs to warn exposed employees of potential dangers posed by work spaces involving hazardous conditions. One repeat health violation was cited for failing to post safety instruction signs indicating the presence of combustible dust. 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 other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. The company was cited for similar hazards in 2009. Proposed fines for the four repeat violations total $50,050.
One serious safety violation, with a proposed fine of $3,850, was cited for failing to have a written certification indicating that all hazards in the permit-required confined space had been eliminated. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazardous condition about which the employer knew or should have known.
All-Feed Processing & Packaging Inc also was cited for five other-than-serious violations, with proposed fines of $3,850, for failing to record work-related injuries and illness as required on the OSHA 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.
Prior to this inspection, which was opened in May after OSHA procured a warrant to conduct the inspection, All-Feed Processing & Packaging Inc had been inspected by OSHA 10 times since 2000, resulting in citations and significant proposed penalties on five occasions. Those citations encompassed a total of 17 willful, 44 serious, five repeat and 10 other-than-serious violations, many of which related to failing to monitor and limit employees' exposure to hazardous dust.
The workers' compensation carrier insuring All-Feed Processing & Packaging Inc is Benchmark Insurance Co. in Shawnee Mission, Kan. Workers' compensation is a form of insurance that provides wage replacement and medical benefits for an employee who has a job-related injury or disease, in exchange for relinquishment of the employee's right to sue his or her employer for negligence. Each state has its own workers' compensation law. Illinois' law first took effect in 1912 and requires employers to provide workers' compensation insurance for almost every person who is hired, injured or whose employment is localized in Illinois.
The company has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which focuses enforcement resources on employers with a history of safety violations that endanger workers by demonstrating indifference to their responsibilities under the law. The program includes mandatory OSHA follow-up inspections, and inspections of other work sites of the same employer where similar hazards and deficiencies may be present. All-Feed Processing & Packaging Inc was placed in the program due to its previous violations as well as the per-instance violations cited during both the current and a January 2011 inspection. For more information on SVEP, visit http://s.dol.gov/J3.
"Employers have a responsibility to provide appropriate safety equipment and training to protect workers from respiratory hazards, and to ensure that workplaces are safe and healthful," said Dr. Michaels.
The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/AllFeed_314850454_1102_11.pdf* and http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/AllFeed_314850421_1102_11.pdf*.
All-Feed Processing & Packaging Inc 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.
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 Peoria Area Office at 309-589-7033.
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, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.
* Accessibility Assistance Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.