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Region 5 News Release: 13-1743-CHI
Sept. 4, 2013
Contact: Scott Allen      Rhonda Burke
Phone:       312-353-6976
Email: allen.scott@dol.gov      burke.rhonda@dol.gov

US Labor Department's OSHA fines Vienna Beef Ltd. $53,000
for 10 safety violations at Chicago meat processing facility

CHICAGO – Vienna Beef Ltd. has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 10 serious safety violations with proposed fines of $53,000. The citations follow a May inspection at the Chicago meat processing facility initiated under OSHA's Site-Specific Targeting Program, which targets employers who record a higher-than-average injury and illness rate.

"The absence of machine guarding, deficient energy control procedures and lack of employer safety training creates an atmosphere in which workers are vulnerable to injury or even death," said Diane Turek, OSHA's area director for the Chicago North Area Office in Des Plaines. "Employers, such as Vienna Beef, have a responsibility to evaluate workplaces for existing hazards to protect workers from injuries."

The 10 serious safety violations include lack of energy control procedures; failing to train and evaluate powered industrial vehicle operators; lack of eye and face protection; not providing walking working surfaces that were in good repair; failing to conduct a workplace hazard assessment to identify possible safety issues; and improper use of flexible electrical cords. Additionally, the company was cited for violations that expose workers to amputation injuries, including failing to lockout and tagout equipment during maintenance to prevent unintentional operation and lack of machine guarding on various machines, such as grinders, augers and mixers.

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 company, which was established in 1893, produces hot dogs, sausages, soups and deli meats.

Vienna Beef Ltd. has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and notice of proposed penalties to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. If the company does not file or contest within that period, it must abate the cited conditions within the period ordered in the citations and pay the proposed penalties.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Chicago North Office at 847-803-4800.

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 exist 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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