The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Consolidated Blenders Inc., doing business as Shoftstall Alfalfa, in Odessa, Neb., with one alleged willful and 24 alleged serious violations for exposing workers to inadvertent machinery start-ups and other safety hazards. Proposed penalties total $120,600.
OSHA's inspection was initiated in March under its "High Hazard Workplaces Without an OSHA Inspection Since 1996" Local Emphasis Program. This LEP targets companies in Nebraska that have not been inspected by OSHA since 1996 and employ 11 or more workers.
"There is no excuse for employees to work in an environment where they are exposed to being crushed while working inside machinery where the energy source was not properly locked out and tagged," said Charles Adkins, OSHA's regional administrator in Kansas City, Mo. "It is imperative employers take the necessary steps to eliminate hazards from the workplace."
The willful violation stems from the company's failure to lock out and tag out all energy isolating devices. OSHA issues a willful violation when an employer exhibits plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.
The serious violations stem from absent or deficient guardrail systems; an inadequate respiratory protection program; lack of a permit required for confined space; incomplete confined space entry program and practices; lack of energy source lockout/tagout training; insufficient powered industrial truck training; absent or deficient machine guarding; deficient compressed air equipment; improper storage of welding cylinders; and overall deficiencies in electrical wiring and equipment. OSHA issues a serious citation when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard that an employer knew or should have known about.
Consolidated Blenders Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Omaha, Neb., or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission