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Region 1 News Release: 09-1315-BOS/BOS 2009-370
Wed., Nov. 4, 2009
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: 617-565-2074

US Labor Department's OSHA cites New Bedford, Mass., seafood processor following worker death in ice machine

BRAINTREE, Mass. - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Northern Wind Inc., a New Bedford, Mass., seafood processor, for 23 alleged violations of workplace safety standards after a worker was killed on May 4 when he became caught in the moving parts of a large industrial ice-making machine that activated while he was performing maintenance work inside it.

OSHA found that the plant lacked specific steps and procedures to power down and lock out the ice machine's power source before employees entered it. The agency's investigation also found that workers were not trained to recognize and address the hazard of the machine operating without warning. In addition, the plant lacked a program and employee training for working in confined spaces, such as the ice machine, and ladders were not available to ensure safe entry and exit from the ice machine.

"This is exactly the type of grave accident that OSHA's hazardous energy control, or 'lockout/tagout' standard, is designed to prevent," said Brenda Gordon, OSHA's area director for southeastern Massachusetts. "For the safety of their workers, employers must always ensure that machinery is powered down and its power sources locked out before workers perform maintenance. Employers must also ensure that workers are properly trained for work in confined spaces."

Additionally, OSHA's inspection identified unmarked exit doors and a lack of emergency exit route lighting, no eyewash or drenching facilities for employees working with corrosive chemicals, a lack of material safety data sheets and chemical hazard communication training, unguarded open-sided floors, a missing safety latch on a hoisting hook and several electrical-related hazards.

All told, these conditions resulted in the issuance of 19 serious citations, with $62,800 in proposed fines. OSHA issues serious citations when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known. The company also has been fined $4,000 for four other-than-serious hazards, including incomplete recording of injuries and illnesses. The combined penalties total $66,800.

Northern Wind Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Braintree Area Office; telephone 617-565-6924. Detailed information on hazardous energy control, including an interactive e-Tool, is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/controlhazardousenergy/index.html.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, OSHA's role is to promote safe and healthful working conditions for America's men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, outreach and education. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.


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