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OSHA News Release – Region 5
U.S. Department of Labor
Region 5 News Release 04-1171-CHI
Date: July 8, 2004
Contact: Brad Mitchell
Phone: (312) 353-6976
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Norse Dairy Systems, a division of Interbake Foods Inc. in Columbus, is facing $122,000 in proposed penalties from the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) following a January 2004 inspection that revealed a number of dangerous workplace violations.
"Strong enforcement has been one of the keys to this Administration's success in reducing workplace injuries and illnesses to record low levels," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "The significant penalty of $122,000 in this case demonstrates our commitment to protecting the health and safety of American workers."
OSHA opened its investigation in response to a complaint about safety issues at the plant, which primarily manufactures and supplies equipment, packaging and flavorings to the novelty ice cream industry. The subsequent inspection found alleged willful violations of OSHA regulations, including lack of machine guarding to prevent amputations and similar injuries, and failure to control all energy sources during maintenance operations on machinery. In addition, serious safety problems were noted, including failure to monitor lead exposure and failure to provide training on various workplace safety and health issues.
The company employs approximately 3,500 full-time workers at facilities in California, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. There are 170 workers at the Columbus site. OSHA has conducted 11 inspections at the various company locations and in October 1996 issued serious citations related to an amputation accident.
The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to appeal before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
In fiscal year (FY) 2003, OSHA conducted almost 40,000 inspections, an increase of more than 2,000 inspections over FY 2002 levels; more than half focused on high-hazard industries. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department news releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov/ebsa. The information in this release will be made available in alternative format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call 202-693-7773 or TTY 202-693-7755
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