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Safety, health regulators pursuing $178,000 in fines against Agro Farma


SYRACUSE, N.Y.—Federal workplace safety and health regulators are pursuing $178,000 in fines against Agro Farma Inc., makers of the popular Chobani line of Greek yogurts, for as many as 34 alleged health and safety violations.

Based in Norwich, N.Y., Agro Farma allegedly failed to install shielding on numerous moving machine parts, train workers in safety protocols for electrical equipment, and supply adequate personal protective equipment for employees working on live electrical equipment, according to a statement from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

OSHA said Agro Farma's alleged violations also included a lack of fall protection for employees working on top of milk trucks, failing to label confined spaces, and failing to address stairway and exit deficiencies.

"Our inspections identified a wide range of mechanical, chemical, electrical and health hazards that, left uncorrected, expose the plant's employees to being caught in moving machine parts or unexpectedly energized machinery, electrocution, falls, being overcome in toxic or oxygen-deficient atmospheres, and hearing loss," Christopher Adams, OSHA's area director in Syracuse, N.Y., said Wednesday in the agency's statement.

OSHA's inspection also revealed inadequacies in the processing plant's safety management program, particularly its control over the release of toxic, reactive or flammable liquids and gases that result from milk processing.