US Department of Labor’s OSHA cites Wegmans Food Market for repeat and serious hazards at corporate bakery and distribution center in Rochester, NY

Date First Published on SafetySmart Compliance: October 25th, 2011
Topics: Lockout Tagout |

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Wegmans Food Markets Inc. for alleged repeat and serious violations of workplace safety standards at the company’s corporate bakery and distribution center in Rochester, N.Y. The retail grocery chain faces a total of $195,200 in proposed fines, chiefly for inadequate safeguards, to prevent the unintended startup of machinery during maintenance.

OSHA’s hazardous energy control, or lockout/tagout, standard mandates that machines be shut down and the power sources locked out before workers perform maintenance. The standard also requires proper procedures, training and equipment to ensure that machines cannot be unintentionally activated and seriously injure workers performing maintenance on machines.

Inspections by OSHA’s Buffalo Area Office found that Wegmans failed to develop, utilize and follow lockout/tagout procedures and to adequately train workers on hazards and procedures related to lockout/tagout hazards at this facility. OSHA had cited Wegmans in 2007 and 2010 for similar hazards at Wegmans locations in Rochester, N.Y., so these recurring hazards resulted in citations for four repeat violations with $140,000 in proposed fines. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited 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 fines proposed for these violations are significant because this employer previously has been cited for similar hazards,” said Arthur Dube, OSHA’s area director for western New York. “For the safety and health of its workers, Wegmans must take effective action to ensure that proper lockout/tagout safeguards are in place and in use at all of its locations.”

OSHA also identified electrical, machine guarding, mechanical and ventilation hazards related to ovens in the bakery, and a fall hazard in the distribution center. These conditions resulted in citations for nine serious violations with $55,200 in fines. 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.

The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Wegmans_Food_315500165-315500306_10-11-2011.pdf.

Detailed information on controlling hazardous energy, including an interactive eTool, is available for workers and employers online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/controlhazardousenergy/index.html.

“One means of preventing new and recurring hazards is for employers to develop, implement and effectively maintain an illness and injury prevention program in which they work proactively with their employees to continually identify and eliminate hazardous conditions before they harm workers,” said Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional director in New York.

The Rochester-based company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA’s area director in Buffalo or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Source: OSHA Regional News Release

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