OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
Region 2 News Release: 04-1827-NEW/BOS 2004-222
Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2004
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Office: (617) 565-2074
Nearly $185,00 in Fines Proposed
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- An Ogdensburg, N.Y., cheese manufacturer's failure to protect workers against the unexpected startup of machinery, hazardous chemicals, falls and other safety and health hazards has resulted in $184,900 in proposed fines from the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
St Lawrence Food Corp., doing business as Primo Foods, was cited for a total of 38 alleged willful, repeat, serious and other violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act at its 30 Main St. plant. OSHA conducted the inspection from March 11 to September 3, as part of a safety and health emphasis program covering food processing plants in the local area.
"We must ensure that employers comply with safety and health standards so that occupational injuries and illnesses rates continue to decline," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "The significant fines of $184,900 proposed in this case reflect both the seriousness of the hazards and this Administration's commitment to protecting the health and safety of American workers."
The inspection found that the company failed to provide "lockout/tagout" protection for employees who service and clean equipment to ensure that machinery does not accidentally startup during repair or maintenance. In addition, employees were not trained on the hazards of the corrosive chemicals with which they work. These conditions resulted in the issuance of two willful citations, with $112,500 in proposed fines.
Thirty-two serious citations, carrying $68,400 in fines, were issued for such hazards as failing to label confined spaces and institute a program for safe entry; missing stair railings; not providing fall protection for employees working at heights of up to 12 feet; obstructed exit routes; unguarded moving machine parts; and failure to properly maintain electrical equipment.
A repeat citation, with a $3,200 fine, was issued for the company's failure to institute a hearing conservation program. OSHA had cited Lewis County Dairy, which is owned by the same company, in May 2003 for a similar hazard at its Lowville, N.Y., dairy. An additional $800 in fines were proposed for three other citations for failing to maintain a log of occupational illnesses and injuries, an uncovered floor drain and not marking the load capacity on a fork lift.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and fines to request and participate in an informal conference with OSHA or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The investigation was conducted by OSHA's Syracuse area office, located at 3300 Vickery Road, North Syracuse, New York, Telephone: (315) 451-0808.
In fiscal year 2003, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted almost 40,000 inspections. 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 (DOL) releases are accessible on the Internet at <http://www.dol.gov>. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate 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) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755.
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