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Region 10 News Release: 11-563-SEA (11-81)
April 19, 2011
Contact: Jeannine Lupton
Phone: 206-553-7620
Email: lupton.jeannine@dol.gov

US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Davisco Foods International
for safety violations at Jerome Cheese Co. in Jerome, Idaho

SEATTLE – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Davisco Foods International, doing business as Jerome Cheese Co. in Jerome, Idaho, for 12 serious and one repeat violation after an inspection of the company's facility identified two incidents of anhydrous ammonia release, an absence of fall protection, the employer's failure to implement an emergency response plan and other workplace hazards. Proposed penalties total $111,000.

OSHA's area office in Boise, Idaho, began an investigation last year as part of a national emphasis program on chemical facilities.

"This employer failed to devote sufficient resources to its process safety management program, thereby exposing workers to the threat of serious injury or death associated with potential releases of anhydrous ammonia," said Dean Ikeda, OSHA's regional administrator in Seattle. "Additionally, OSHA identified violations related to the employer's failure to implement an emergency response plan."

The serious violations involve inadequate process safety management, inadequate process hazard analysis, inadequate process safety information, failure to implement an emergency response plan and failure to provide fall protection. In addition, the employer allowed use of less protective equipment and did not provide enough emergency eyewash and showers for employees. A serious violation occurs 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.

The employer's failure to implement an emergency response plan also represents the repeat citation because the company was cited for a similar violation on May 24, 2007. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.

Davisco Foods International, based in Le Sueur, Minn., also has cheese manufacturing facilities in Minnesota and North Dakota, and sales offices in several countries.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to contest these findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Prior to contesting, the employer can request an informal conference with OSHA's area director. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).

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 ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.


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