OSHA News Release - Table of Contents|
OSHA News Release – Region 4
U.S. Department of Labor
US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Schwan's, staffing agency and service
company for serious health and safety violations; $264,360 in fines
ATLANTA – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Schwan's Global Supply Chain Inc., which manufactures frozen foods sold under several brand names, including Red Baron pizza and Mrs. Smith's desserts, for 32 serious safety and health violations at its Atlanta facility. Two other companies providing maintenance and staffing services for Schwan's, including Cimco Refrigeration Inc. and Adecco USA Inc., were cited for 18 safety and health violations.
"All workers, whether full-time or temporary, deserve the same commitment and access to a safe workplace. Schwan's, Cimco Refrigeration and Adecco are not providing that for their employees," said Bill Fulcher, director of OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office. "OSHA standards are there to protect workers from predictable and preventable injuries and deaths. These standards were disregarded at the expense of worker safety."
OSHA inspectors found that the employers did not provide adequate training for employees to work safely with ammonia, a hazardous and corrosive chemical used in refrigeration. The employers also were cited for exposing workers to unguarded machines and damaging noise levels, and for failure to provide properly fitted personal protective equipment. OSHA initiated the inspection at Schwan's facility in September 2013, following a worker complaint. OSHA's citations carry $185,700 in penalties for Schwan's.
The inspection found that Schwan's exposed workers to dangerous conditions, many created by the company's failure to follow the OSHA Process Safety Management Standard to protect workers from dangerous exposure to ammonia used in the refrigeration system. The employer was cited for failing to ensure that doors to the ammonia handling machinery fit properly, created a chemical hazard and failed to provide training on safe work practices applicable to the ammonia refrigeration systems used at the facility. Schwan's was cited for blocked and mismarked exits in hazardous areas, failure to train workers on controlling hazardous energy through standard lockout/tagout procedures during maintenance and services, and exposing workers to electrical hazards. 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 Minnesota-based company employs approximately 14,000 employees nationwide. The Atlanta facility, which produces dough, cookies and pie crusts for popular products, employs approximately 494 workers.
OSHA inspectors found that temporary workers in Schwan's facility, employed by the Adecco staffing agency, were also exposed to hazards. These included noise and unguarded machines and platforms, which created a fall hazard. As a result, OSHA cited Adecco for 12 serious safety and health violations, carrying penalties of $58,500. With headquarters in Melville, N.Y., Adecco employs more than 300,000 workers nationwide. Adecco maintains an office at the Schwan's facility and provides labor and management of the on-site workforce.
In April 2013, OSHA announced an initiative to improve workplace safety and health for temporary workers. During the inspection, OSHA inspectors paid special attention to the hazards facing temporary workers to determine the role of the host employer and the staffing agency in failing to eliminate serious hazards.
Cimco provided service and maintenance for the ammonia refrigeration system at Schwan's Atlanta facility. It was cited for six serious safety and health violations, carrying penalties of $20,160. The violations were cited for exposing contract workers to excessive noise levels by failing to implement a noise monitoring program. Cimco also failed to provide necessary training, properly fitted respirators and clearly marked exits.
To view the current citations, visit
The companies have 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 & Health Review Commission.
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 Atlanta-East Area Office at 770-493-6644.
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.
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.
* Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.
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