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Food processor 'surprised' by OSHA citation

By Joe Whitworth , 24-Aug-2012

DeIorio Foods Inc. has said it is ‘very surprised’ to receive 14 alleged serious violations citations from the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

DeIorio’s Frozen Dough Products, a pizza, bread and rolls producer located in Utica, New York has been cited for proposed penalties totalling US$54,900 following an OSHA inspection in May.

OSHA said the inspection found working area floors were not kept free from slippery conditions and the exit route from a storage area was obstructed by a pallet of food and a trash can.

Inspectors also found that employees exposed to corrosive materials lacked adequate stations for quick flushing of the eyes and body if they came in contact with the materials.

DeIorio commitment

DeIorio’s said it is committed to maintaining a safe workplace and has a well-established safety program.

The company said it has a joint safety committee with the union that represents manufacturing and sanitation employees, which monitors safety in the manufacturing facility.

“We make every effort to constantly monitor and improve upon workplace safety based on GMP,” said Michelle Burnett, general manager at DeIorio’s in a statement to FoodProductionDaily.com.  

“We feel that it is imperative that we maintain a safe working environment, both for the benefit of our employees and our clients.”

DeIorio’s operations are audited by the American Institute for Baking (AIB), an outside industry consultant.

As part of the annual audit, the external consulting firm assesses the operations at the facility against industry standards and good manufacturing processes.

For each of the past five years, the firm said it has received an AIB rating of “Superior”.

Incorrect use

OSHA inspectors found that the devices intended to be used for locking and tagging out the energy sources of machinery were being used incorrectly as personal locks in the men’s locker room.

“In one instance, the floor was coated with oil near a hot press, and in another, the exit route from a storage area was obstructed by a pallet of food and a trash can,” said Chris Adams, OSHA’s area director for Syracuse.

“Failing to correct the hazards would continue to expose workers to the dangers of falls, chemical burns, getting caught in a machine or being unable to exit the workplace swiftly in the event of an emergency.”

DeIorio Foods Inc. has 15 days after receiving the citation letter to comply, meet with OSHA’s area director or contest the citations before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.