US Labor Department's OSHA cites Nebraska Prime Group in Hastings, Neb.,
for 11 violations after worker fatality at meat packing facility
OMAHA, Neb. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Hastings Acquisition LLC, which operates as Nebraska Prime Group, a meatpacking facility in Hastings, for 11 safety violations. OSHA opened an inspection after a worker had become caught in a machine and was asphyxiated on Jan. 18.
"It is unthinkable that an employer would allow employees to work in and around dangerous equipment that lacks machine guarding," said Charles E. Adkins, OSHA's regional administrator in Kansas City, Mo. "All employers must take the necessary steps to eliminate hazards from the workplace."
The worker was asphyxiated when his clothing got caught in the drive roller of a hide belt. Two related willful violations involve improper machine guarding – which exposes employees to amputation and strangulation hazards – and not supplying sufficient number of lockout devices for all servicing and maintenance employees to secure the energy sources of mechanical equipment . A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowledge or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
Nine serious violations involve a failure to: train workers on protecting themselves from hazards associated with loose clothing around moving equipment; conduct periodic inspections of energy control procedures; properly train workers in energy control procedures; prevent unauthorized alterations to forklifts; maintain legible data-plates for forklifts; train and evaluate the competency of powered industrial truck operators; keep powered trucks that are in need of repair out of operation; regularly inspect forklifts; and correctly use electrical cords and cables. 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.
Proposed penalties total $195,100. The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/HastingsAcquisitionLLC_190339_0712_12.pdf*.
Hastings Acquisition has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Omaha, 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 Omaha Area Office at 402-553-0717.
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.