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Utica, NY, food processing company Delorio Foods Inc. is facing a $54,900 fine for 14 serious violations at the company’s Bleecker Street manufacturing facility for exposing workers to unsafe working conditions, said Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials.

The fines came after OSHA’s May inspection.

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“In one instance, the floor was coated with oil near a hot press, and in another, the exit route from a storage area was obstructed by a pallet of food and a trash can,” said Chris Adams, OSHA’s area director for Syracuse. “Failing to correct the hazards would continue to expose workers to the dangers of falls, chemical burns, getting caught in a machine or being unable to exit the workplace swiftly in the event of an emergency.”

The inspection found working area floors were free from slippery conditions and a pallet of food and a trash can obstructed the exit route from a storage area.

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OSHA inspectors also found employees suffered exposure to corrosive materials, lacked adequate stations for quick flushing of the eyes and body if they came in contact with the materials.

Additionally, inspectors found the devices intended for locking and tagging out the energy sources of machinery instead saw use as personal locks in the men’s locker room. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

“An effective illness and injury prevention program in which workers and managers work together to identify and eliminate hazardous conditions can prevent injuries from occurring in the first place,” said Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional administrator in New York.

DeIorio officials said the OSHA report surprised them.

“DeIorio’s is committed to maintaining a safe workplace, has a well-established safety program and possesses an exemplary safety record. Among other things, DeIorio’s has a joint safety committee with the union that represents manufacturing and sanitation employees, which actively monitors safety in the company’s manufacturing facility,” the company said in a statement.

“In addition to these internal efforts, DeIorio’s operations are audited by the American Institute for Baking, an outside industry consultant. As part of the annual audit, this outside consulting firm assesses the operations at the facility against industry standards and recognized good manufacturing processes. For each of the past five years, DeIorio’s has received a rating of “Superior” from the AIB.”

“We make ever effort to constantly monitor and improve upon workplace safety based on GMP,” said Michelle Burnett, General Manager at DeIorio’s. “We feel that it is imperative that we maintain a safe working environment, both for the benefit of our employees and our clients.”

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