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Confined Space Accident Results in $79K+ Penalty for NY Sauce Manufacturer

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bottling sauce confined spaceJohnson City, NY – An OSHA inspection at the Rob Salamida Co. food manufacturing plant found 11 types of violations amounting to a possible $79,600 in penalties. The investigation was triggered by a workplace incident in September 2015 in which a worker fell into a 3,000 gallon vinegar vat at Salamida’s Johnson City (NY) plant.

While attempting an annual cleaning, a 33-year-old Salamida employee was overcome by vapors in the confined space, fell backwards off a ladder, and lost consciousness in the bottom of the vat. The employee survived the incident after 5 days of hospitalization. The vat was empty at the time, save for 3-4″ of residue collected at the bottom. The employee was wearing a

OSHA reports that the Rob Salamida Co. had improper signage on vinegar vats and that employees were not being given proper respirator training or eye protection, among other citations. The largest penalty is for $56,000 for, claiming, “the employer did not evaluate the workplace for the presence of permit required confined spaces including but not limited to 3,000 gallon tanks containing cider vinegar, distilled white vinegar and red wine vinegar.”

OSHA found that the sauce and marinade manufacturer failed to identify confined space hazards inside the tank, such as oxygen deficiency and acetic acid vapors, and failed to provide air monitoring, ventilation and rescue equipment for employees entering confined spaces, on top of a list of other violations.

OSHA found many other hazards at the Rob Salamida Co. plant: There were no evident procedures, training or devices to lock out machines’ power sources to protect against their unintended startup (lockout/tagout); a lack of procedures to verify and maintain safe entry conditions; the need to post warning signs for confined spaces and train employees on confined safety hazards.

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