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The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Wegmans Food Markets Inc. for alleged repeat and serious violations of workplace safety standards at the grocer’s corporate bakery and distribution center in Rochester, N.Y.
The company faces a total of $195,200 in proposed fines, mainly for alleged inadequate safeguards in preventing the unintended startup of machinery during maintenance.
OSHA mandates that machines be shut down and the power sources locked out before workers perform maintenance. The standard additionally requires proper procedures, training and equipment to ensure that machines can’t be inadvertently activated and seriously injure workers performing maintenance on them.
Inspections by OSHA’s Buffalo-area office found that Wegmans failed to develop, use and follow lockout/tagout procedures and to adequately train facility workers in regard to such hazards and procedures. OSHA earlier cited Wegmans in 2007 and 2010 for similar hazards at other Rochester locations, so the most recent hazards led to citations for four repeat violations, with $140,000 in proposed fines.
“The fines proposed for these violations are significant, because this employer previously has been cited for similar hazards,” noted Arthur Dube, OSHA’s area director for western New York. “For the safety and health of its workers, Wegmans must take effective action to ensure that proper lockout/tagout safeguards are in place and in use at all of its locations.”
OSHA also found electrical, machine guarding, mechanical and ventilation hazards related to ovens in the bakery, as well as a fall hazard in the distribution center. These conditions resulted in citations for nine serious violations, with $55,200 in fines.
Wegmans was given 15 business days from the receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA’s area director in Buffalo or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.