Earlier this month, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reported that it cited a Massachusetts-based food manufacturing plant after alleged safety violations were discovered at a Wisconsin factory site. According to various online sources, Richelieu Foods Inc. was also fined $230,000.
The company is accused of putting the lives of workers in danger by failing to amend past infractions that were discovered in 2009. These included neglecting to control dangerous energy, failing to execute energy control procedures and reporting information on these strategies to OSHA.
Before the most recent inspection, OSHA officials visited the Wisconsin facility last August. They found 24 problems ranging from machine guarding hazards to lack of hearing protection. Agents also noticed that employees were not trained on how to respond to emergency situations that involved harmful chemicals.
Because of the severity of these violations, Richelieu has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which subjects repeat offending companies to unannounced and frequent inspections by federal health and safety agents.
''Companies with a higher than average rate of injury and illness for their industry have a responsibility to review their health and safety programs, and address worker training needs to reduce proactively the hazards and risks posed,'' declared Kim Stille, OSHA's area director in Madison in a press statement.
Richelieu has just over two weeks to select what course of action it will take. The company can decide to accept the charges and pay the fine, request an informal meeting with local OSHA officials or go through the appeals process. As of March 6, the food manufacturer has not announced what will select to do.
According to the sources, a call to get Richelieu's side of the story was not immediately returned.
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