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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration praised an Atlanta food manufacturer for accepting responsibility for workplace safety violations and agreeing to correct the hazards and pay $100,000 in penalties.
OSHA cited Atlanta-based Schwan's Global Supply Inc. for repeated violations, including failing to ensure workers used safety procedures to prevent the unexpected start up of machinery during maintenance and servicing, failing to ensure machines were properly guarded and for not implementing safety procedures for ammonia refrigeration systems, according to an agency news release issued on Thursday.
Schwan, which manufactures frozen foods sold under brand names such as Red Baron, Tony's and Freschetta pizza and Mrs. Smith's desserts, was previously cited for similar violations at the facility in 2013, according to the release.
The subsidiary of Marshall, Minnesota-based The Schwan Food Co., told OSHA the company accepted responsibility for the safety and health hazards and signed a pre-citation settlement agreement on Jan. 15, according to the release.
The company agreed to assure that only authorized, properly trained employees perform service and maintenance on machinery, hire a third-party consultant to conduct an audit of the facility focused on equipment, fall, electrical and guarding hazards, and conduct training for employees on emergency shut-down, standard operating procedures for new machinery. Schwan also agreed to keep OSHA recordkeeping logs and meet with OSHA officials quarterly to discuss the status of compliance.
“We are very encouraged that Schwan recognized the safety failures that have reoccurred and is taking full responsibility,” Bill Fulcher, director of OSHA's Atlanta East Area Office, said in a statement. “The company settled the citations immediately and signed the enhanced compliance agreement as part of its commitment to protect its workers and operate safely. When employers are committed to safety, everyone wins.”
A company spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration may have the authority to order employers to abate hazards across all their worksites, even ones it has not inspected for safety and health violations, according to a recent administrative decision that could lead to a significant expansion of the agency's regulatory powers.