Wegmans NY Bakery Division Fined $188K for Repeated Violations

Rochester, NY – The NY-based supermarket Wegmans faces fines totaling $188,000 following an investigation of two worker injuries at their bakery facility in Rochester, N.Y. OSHA cited Wegmans on Sept. 1 for three repeated and two serious violations while proposing fines totaling $188,200. After an inspection, the agency accused Wegmans of failing to properly train employees, ensuring that a machine’s moving parts had the proper safeguards, for providing inadequate hand and face protections for workers, and more.

OSHA claims that in March, a sanitation crew member lost a fingertip when it caught in the pinch point of an operating conveyor that he was cleaning. A month later, a mechanic sustained a first degree burn on his wrist when steam released while he attempted to repair a valve. The subsequent inspection by OSHA’s Buffalo (NY) office found hazardous conditions similar to those cited by the agency during a 2011 inspection of the same facility. Wegmans Food Markets faces proposed fines of more than $188,000 for these “recurring hazards.”

In the case of the amputation, OSHA found that Wegmans failed to turn off and lock out the conveyor’s power source, train employees in how to do this, and ensure the conveyor’s moving parts were protected against contact. In the steam burn incident, the company failed to develop a procedure to lockout the valve supplying steam to the pipe. The recurring hazards led the agency to cite Wegmans for three repeated violations with $175,000 in proposed fines. Additionally, OSHA cited the company for inadequate hand and face protection for the employees who worked on the steam valve, with fines amounting to $13,200.

Wegmans disputes the findings: “We work hard to maintain a safe workplace everywhere. Even one injury to an employee is too many for us…The current rate of workplace accidents at Wegmans is the lowest in our history.”

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Clearwater Paper Fined for Lack of Lockout/Tagout Procedures

Neenah, WI – OSHA has proposed fines of nearly $50,000 for safety violations found at Clearwater Paper Corp. facility in Neenah, WI. Violations included a lack of procedures for the control of locking devices to prevent the operation of maclocking devices needed paper productshinery during repairs, known as lockout tagout. The company was also cited for a lack of safety guards on operating machine parts.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration found nine serious violations during a December inspection of the paper mill, including those that present amputation risks. Matt Van Vleet, vice president of public affairs for the Spokane, Wash.-headquartered company, said they received notification of the violations on April 24, and company officials are in the process of review.

OSHA chose the Wisconsin mill for inspection based on its use of equipment that puts employees in danger of amputation. The administration has put an emphasis on reducing workplace machinery and equipment hazards. OSHA officials say the company and its union took immediate steps to address the issues raised during the inspection.

Clearwater Paper is the country’s largest producer of private-label tissue products, and its Wisconsin mill is one of 10 manufacturing facilities across the country.

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Lockout/Tagout Accident at Kansas Farm Coop Results in Amputation

Blue Rapids, KS – The Beattie Farmers Union Cooperative of northeast Kansas has been fined $65,900 after a lockout tagout accident in which a worker lost the toes on his left foot after becoming entangled in an auger. The employee was injured in August 2014 while he was cleaning out a grain bin near Waterville. The accident appears to be the result of lockout/tagout neglect on the part of the employer – locking devices were not placed on the augers to prevent them from turning on while workers were in the bin.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced Tuesday that OSHA said in a news release that it found one willful, one repeated and three serious safety and health violations at the farm cooperative. The injured employee has not been able to return to work.

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