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Region 8 News Release: OSHA-2-02
Thursday, Jan 17, 2002
Contact: Rich Kulczewski
OSHA Fines Meadow Gold Dairies For Safety and Health Violations
DENVER -- Failure to protect employees working in dangerous confined spaces and other hazards including potential over-exposure to anhydrous ammonia has resulted in citations against an Englewood, Colo. company by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Proposed penalties total $174,000.
"Safety and health cannot be left to chance," said Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "By following safety standards, workers earn their livelihoods without risking their lives."
The citations were issued Jan. 11 by OSHA's Englewood area office against Suiza, doing business as Meadow Gold Dairies, Inc., following an inspection of Meadow Gold's plant at 1325 W. Oxford. The inspection was initiated in July, following an employee complaint about serious safety and health hazards, according to OSHA Area Director John Healy.
OSHA cited the company for alleged repeat violations for failure to issue permits to maintenance employees entering "permit-required" confined spaces and not adequately training employees to work in these areas, which may contain dangerous moving parts, a hazardous atmosphere, or substances that can cause death by plugging the respiratory system.
Other alleged repeat violations were: not performing annual evaluations of the company's lockout/tagout program; failure to medically evaluate employees to wear respirators; failure to fit-test employees prior to using a respirator; blocked portable fire extinguishers; failure to protect employees from hazardous machine nip points; failure to protect employees exposed to unguarded chain conveyors; and missing covers on electrical panels and junction boxes. Proposed penalties for the alleged repeat violations total $127,500.
A $46,500 penalty was proposed for 21 alleged serious violations such as fall hazards; exposed rotating shafts, belts and pulleys; open electrical panels; damaged extension cords and conduit; and wet floors.
Repeat violations are those in which an employer has been cited within the last three years for the same, or a substantially similar, violation which has become a final order. A serious violation is defined as one committed where there is substantial probability that death or physical harm could result and the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
Suiza has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to request an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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