OSHA cites food giant for repeat safety violations

A well-known food company has been cited for not maintaining a workplace safety environment compliant with federal rules.

ConAgra Foods, a food producer headquartered in Omaha, Neb., was recently cited by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for violating several safety regulations, all of which could result in workers being seriously injured.

Deborah Zubatay, an area director of OSHA, indicated the company has violated more than a dozen safety codes, some of which are repeat offenses. The most egregious, however, is not equipping machines with appropriate guarding mechanisms.

“Lack of machine guarding can lead to amputation and other serious injuries,” said Zubatay. “Risk to workers can be avoided by maintaining adequate guards and following manufacturer-recommended safety procedures.”

She added that when employers are cited for a violation on more than one occasion – particularly those that they’ve been flagged for in the past – it demonstrates a lack of commitment to workers’ safety and well-being.

In addition to improper machinery guarding, ConAgra’s other repeat offenses included not having the systems in place to prevent people from falling fromĀ elevated heights more than 7 feetĀ as well as poor injury and illness record keeping, according to OSHA.

The federal agency indicated that ConAgra Foods, which employees 34,000 people nationwide, has approximately two weeks from the day it received the citation to prove it has implemented the necessary adjustments to comply.

Every year, the U.S. Department of Labor, which oversees OSHA, releases a list of the 10 most frequently cited safety violations. Improper machine guarding was one the list in 2013. Others included inadequate fall protection and deficient hazard communication.

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