The US Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has found Schwan's Global Supply Chain, which manufactures frozen foods including Red Baron pizza and Mrs. Smith's desserts, in breach of 32 serious safety and health violations at its Atlanta factory.
Two other companies, providing maintenance and staffing services for Schwan's, including Cimco Refrigeration and Adecco USA, were cited for 18 safety and health violations.
Standards were disregarded
"All workers, whether full-time or temporary, deserve the same commitment and access to a safe workplace,” said Bill Fulcher, director, OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office.
“Schwan's, Cimco Refrigeration and Adecco are not providing that for their employees.
"OSHA standards are there to protect workers from predictable and preventable injuries and deaths. These standards were disregarded at the expense of worker safety."
OSHA inspectors found the employers did not provide adequate training for staff to work safely with ammonia, a hazardous and corrosive chemical used in refrigeration.
It was also found to be exposing workers to unguarded machines and damaging noise levels, and for failure to provide properly fitted personal protective equipment.
OSHA carried out the inspection at Schwan's facility in September 2013, following a worker complaint. OSHA's citations carry $185,700 in penalties for Schwan's.
The inspection found Schwan's exposed workers to dangerous conditions, many created by the company's failure to follow the OSHA Process Safety Management Standard to protect workers from dangerous exposure to ammonia used in the refrigeration system .
Violations included failing to ensure doors to the ammonia handling machinery fit properly and failing to provide training on safe work practices applicable to the ammonia refrigeration systems used at the facility.
Schwan's was cited for blocked and mismarked exits in hazardous areas, failure to train workers on controlling hazardous energy through standard lockout/tagout procedures during maintenance and services, and exposing workers to electrical hazards.
The Minnesota-based company employs approximately 14,000 staff nationwide. The Atlanta facility, which produces dough, cookies and pie crusts, employs about 494 workers.
OSHA inspectors found temporary workers in Schwan's factory, employed by Adecco staffing agency, were also exposed to hazards. These included noise and unguarded machines and platforms, which created a fall hazard.
As a result, OSHA cited Adecco for 12 serious safety and health violations, carrying penalties of $58,500. With headquarters in Melville, New York, Adecco employs more than 300,000 workers nationwide.
Adecco has an office at the Schwan's facility and provides labor and management of the on-site workforce.
Cimco provided service and maintenance for the ammonia refrigeration system at Schwan's Atlanta facility.
It was cited for six serious safety and health violations, carrying penalties of $20,160. The violations were cited for exposing contract workers to excessive noise levels by failing to implement a noise monitoring program.
Cimco also failed to provide necessary training, properly fitted respirators and clearly marked exits.
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