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Region 4 News Release: 10-593-ATL (287)
May 14, 2010
Contact: Michael D'Aquino        Michael Wald
Email: D'
Phone: 404-562-2076     404-562-2078

US Department of Labor's OSHA cites South Bay, Fla., sugar cane
mill and refinery for exposing workers to amputation injuries

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Okeelanta Corp. in South Bay, Fla., with repeat and serious violations for exposing workers to lacerations and amputation injuries. Proposed penalties total $45,775.

The inspection was initiated based on OSHA's Site-Specific Targeting Program, which focuses enforcement efforts on comprehensive safety inspections where the highest rates of injuries and illnesses occur.

Okeelanta was cited with one repeat violation with a proposed penalty of $12,500. The violation includes failing to completely enclose sprocket wheels and chains on machinery and exposing employees to rotating parts and pinch points. A repeat violation is issued when an employer previously was cited for the same or similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last three years.

The company also was cited with 12 serious safety violations and $33,275 in proposed penalties. These violations include failing to provide stairway railing and guarding of floor openings, failing to provide machine guarding on equipment and exposing employees to electrical hazards. A serious citation is issued 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.

"This facility has been inspected previously and received citations for various workplace hazards," said Darlene Fossum, OSHA's area director in Fort Lauderdale. "Management cannot delay taking action any longer to improve its safety and health program in order to protect workers."

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by staff from OSHA's Fort Lauderdale Area Office, 1000 South Pine Island Road, Suite 100; telephone 954-424-0242.

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 assure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit


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