Multinational Food Manufacturer Fined $145K

Multinational Food Manufacturer Fined $145K

 

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.

Key Takeaways

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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Additional Resources:

OSHA Fact Sheet on Preventing Cuts and Amputations from Food Slicers and Meat Grinders

Using Lockout and Tagout Procedures to Prevent Injury and Death during Machine Maintenance (English)

Using Lockout and Tagout Procedures to Prevent Injury and Death during Machine Maintenance (Spanish)

 

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Fatalities Spur MSHA Safety Alert on Electrical Hazards

Arlington, VA- Prompted by reports of three recent fatalities involving electricity, the Mine Safety and Health Administration has issued a safety alert.

Electricity has killed three people in the mining industry since August 7, 2019.

An electrician contacted an energized component of a 4,160 VAC electrical circuit while adjusting the linkage between the disconnect lever and the internal components of the panel that supplied power to the plant feed belt motors. A contract electrician contacted an energized 120 VAC conductor while working inside a fire suppression system’s electrical
panel. An electrician contacted an exposed energized connector while troubleshooting a 995 VAC flooded bed scrubber motor circuit on-board a continuous mining machine.Electrical Safety Alert

MSHA offers numerous best practices for electrical incident prevention. Among them:

-Perform lockout/tagout procedures on circuits before working on electrical equipment.

-Don’t rush, and never work alone. Talk with co-workers and confirm your plan is safe.

-Identify and control all hazardous energy sources before conducting tasks, and follow safe work procedures.

-Train miners on equipment they may use.

-Always perform troubleshooting without power. If you must troubleshoot an energized circuit, use appropriately rated personal protective equipment to prevent hazards.

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Lockout Accident Kills Contractor at IN Ethanol Plant

Bluffton, IN – Valero Renewable Fuels was the site of a workplace death this month caused by a lockout accident. A 42-year-old contractor was found dead at the plant, his body trapped in a piece of machinery.

Ryan West became trapped in machinery while working as a contractor at the Valero Renewable Fuels ethanol plant in Bluffton, IN. Local police have stated that Valero employees called 911 saying they couldn’t find West and feared he had been in an accident. When emergency responders arrived, they found his body caught in a piece of equipment. West was employed by Diversified Industrial Services, a grain equipment supplier, and was performing maintenance work on a large auger.

Lockout procedures provide detailed instruction on how to isolate and lock each energy source for a given piece of equipment, helping to prevent the startup of machinerylockout accident or equipment that may result in worker injury. Lockout/Tagout is also known as LOTO or Control of Hazardous Energy. These terms refers to the same safety standard and procedures and practices designed to prevent the unexpected start up or movement of equipment, especially crucial during maintenance or service work.

A study conducted by the United Auto Workers revealed that 20% of fatalities among their membership were attributed to inadequate hazardous energy control or lockout/tagout (LOTO) procedures. An estimated 3 million workers service equipment as a part of their work duties. These employees face the greatest risk of injury if lockout/tagout is not properly implemented. Compliance with the lockout/tagout standard is said to prevent approximately 120 fatalities and 50,000 injuries each year at facilities across the US.

Indiana’s arm of OSHA is investigating this latest incident, while local news media are reporting a history of safety violations at the ethanol plant. Earlier this year, Valero’s Bluffton plant was fined for “serious safety violations” involving machinery safety and lockout/tagout.

Tragedies such as this lockout accident in Indiana are preventable. Please contact a Lockout Specialist at Martin Technical today to discuss how we can help to make your plant or facility better, safer, and more efficient with the support of our suite of Lockout Tagout, Arc Flash, Electrical Safety, Risk Assessment, Training, Machine Safety, and Safety Consulting services.

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