OSHA issues 13 violations to Oscar Mayer plant

by Bryan Salvage
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MADISON, Wis. – Kraft Foods Inc.’s Oscar Mayer facility in Madison, Wis., was cited for 12 serious and one other-than-serious safety violations by the US Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Proposed fines total $75,000.

Deficiencies in the company's process safety management program, a detailed set of requirements and procedures employers must follow to proactively address hazards associated with processes and equipment that involve large amounts of hazardous chemicals, were identified during an OSHA inspection. Nine of the serious violations involve failing to comply with the requirements of the process safety management standard. The three remaining serious violations involve failing to provide guardrails to protect workers from fall hazards, comply with the "lockout/tagout" standards for the control of hazardous energy and provide proper machine guarding. A serious violation is defined as when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The other-than-serious violation was cited as failing to comply with process safety management standards. An other-than-serious violation has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

Kraft Foods has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply or request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

“We care about the safety of our employees as safety is a top priority,” Sydney Lindner, associate director/corporate affairs, Kraft Foods, told MEATPOULTRY.com by email. “We are committed to having strong safety protocols and programs in place that include worker participation.

“We respect OSHA and appreciate their expertise and insights,” she continued. “We have fully cooperated throughout their investigation. We take this matter very seriously. In fact, we already have made changes to the areas discussed with OSHA. We will review the OSHA documents we’ve been given and will make all additional changes needed.

“There were no employee injuries that precipitated this OSHA investigation. In fact, the Madison plant has a good safety record, and we continually work to make the plant safe,” she concluded.
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