CREST HILL, IL – A 42-year-old Chicago area employee suffered a fatal injury while cleaning a machine at a Crest Hill frozen pizza manufacturer.
Rich Products Corp. is a multinational food manufacturer that operates about 100 locations globally and reports annual sales exceeding $4 billion. The company manufactures frozen pizzas, desserts, and other grocery items for food service, retail, in-store bakeries, and delis. It employs about 375 people at its Crest Hills facility and more than 7,400 nationwide.
The company Failed to Implement Lockout/Tagout
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has conducted an inspection following the tragic incident. OSHA determined that Rich Products Corp. failed to implement energy control procedures – commonly known as lockout/tagout, exposing its workers to serious hazards.
OSHA issued one willful violation to the Buffalo, New York-based food manufacturer and proposed $145,027 in penalties. The agency placed Rich Products in OSHA’s Severe Violator Program for a willful violation that led to an employee fatality. The company has an extensive history of OSHA violations nationwide.
“This preventable tragedy is another example of why employers must ensure lockout/tagout procedures are in place before allowing workers to clean or operate machinery. Employers who fail to follow safety standards and train workers in operating procedures will be held accountable,” said OSHA Chicago South Area Director James Martineck in Tinley Park.
The company has 15 business days to comply, request a conference, or contest before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Lockout/Tagout is among the Top 10 Most Cited Standards
OSHA’s lockout/tagout and machine guarding standards are among the agency’s top 10 most frequently cited standards in FY 2021. The lockout/tagout standard (29 CFR 1910.147) was cited 1,698 times in the fiscal year (FY) 2021. At the same time, Machinery and Machine Guarding, general requirements (29 CFR 1910.212) were cited 1,113 times.
In summary, establishing a complete and comprehensive Lockout Tagout program that includes clear and precise lockout procedures for all workers is of utmost importance. Partnering with certified lockout technicians and safety experts allows faster and more accurate turnaround times for developing LOTO procedures and placards. Routine safety training can prevent accidents and avoid fines, ensuring the highest level of safety in your workplace.
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