OSHA Cites Gelita USA For Machinery Hazards After Fatal Accident
CALUMET CITY, Ill. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Gelita USA, a Calumet City, Ill. food preparation company for safety violations following a July 2003 accident. One employee was fatally injured while performing maintenance on machinery at the plant as a result, and OSHA has proposed fines of $145,000.
"This company failed to protect its workers from known hazards, " said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "This significant fine of $145,000 demonstrates that this Administration will not tolerate the neglect of safety standards."
In the July fatality, an employee was killed when his clothing became entangled in a rotating mandril at the end of an oven. The mandril is a large shaft equipped with blades or fins that break up dried sheets of gelatin.
OSHA's investigation into the accident revealed that Gelita USA did not develop written energy control procedures for locking out specific equipment while service was being performed. OSHA also cited the company for not ensuring that lockout or tagout devices were affixed while maintenance or service was performed and that equipment was not operating while barrier guards were being replaced.
Gelita USA employs some 65 workers in Calumet City and 2,500 company-wide. The company has had nine previous OSHA inspections at various locations. Several violations included lockout/tagout issues, according to Gary Anderson, director of OSHA's Calumet City area office.
The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to appeal before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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