Quall International Inc., a meatpacking company that runs a processing facility in Greensboro, Georgia, has received citations from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) for alleged safety hazards and a fine for $92,115.
The safety agency's investigation was prompted by an employee complaint though according to OSHA's website, the whistleblower's statement has not been released. The problems identified during the inspection include the failure to prevent "struck-by" hazards on the jobsite, create procedures to protect employees from hand-related hazards, issue eye protection to workers in the de-boning room, institute shutdown procedures for machinery during cleaning times, practice noise controls to keep sound pollution below OSHA-mandated levels, provide ear protection equipment and conduct inspections of portable fire extinguishers. Investigators for the safety agency also found numerous issues related to electrical wiring and machinery guarding.
"Employees have a right to expect a safe and healthy working environment, and OSHA will not allow employers to fail in their duty to protect workers," William Fulcher, OSHA's Atlanta-East area director, said in a statement published on the agency's website.
In addition to the citations, OSHA issued several fines, including one totaling $68,715 for serious safety violations and another penalty amounting to $23,400 for health infractions considered by the government agency to be equally severe.
Companies that receive OSHA penalties have the option of rectifying the problems, scheduling a meeting with the area office that conducted the inspection or appealing the charges before an independent safety commission.
While OSHA standards seem daunting, they can be avoided by being proactive about occupational health. Employers that want to keep their workers safe from hazards and businesses protected from regulatory punishment should pair strengthened procedures with the latest in protective clothing technology.
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