ConAgra Foods Inc. is facing $117,000 in fines for multiple safety violations at its Columbus, OH-based flour mill, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Most of the citations were for machines lacking proper guarding, one of the 10 most frequently cited standards. The 13 safety violations, which include three repeat citations, were the result of an inspection of the plant in September 2013 after receiving a complaint.
“Lack of machine guarding can lead to amputation and other serious injuries. Risk to workers can be avoided by maintaining adequate guards and following manufacturer-recommended safety procedures,” said Deborah Zubaty, OSHA’s area director in Columbus. “Employers cited for repeat violations demonstrate a lack of commitment to employee safety and health.”
Three repeat violations include lack of machine guarding on horizontal shafts in the flour mill, failing to provide all required information on OSHA injury and illness logs, and exposing workers to falls greater than 7 feet.
A repeat violation exists when an employer previously faced citations for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. The same violations ended up cited in 2011, 2010 and 2009 at facilities in Cranbury, NJ; Turners Fall, MA, and Carol Stream, IL, respectively.
The company is also facing ten serious safety citations, seven of the citations were for inadequate machine guarding at work areas near moving machinery, shafts, fans, pulleys and chains. The other violations included failing to provide fall protection for workers retrieving samples from bins, not marking exits, inadequate forklift training and failing to have covers in place on an electrical junction box.
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.
Omaha, NE-based ConAgra Foods employs more than 34,000. The Columbus flour mill employs 14.
OSHA last inspected the Columbus facility in 2005. That inspection resulted in the issuance of four citations and was a follow-up to a 2003 dust explosion at the facility, which caused the death of two workers and the hospitalization of one other. OSHA issued 12 citations during that investigation.