Federal inspections of a Case Farms plant in Winesburg, Ohio, resulted in citations for 11 repeated, four serious and two other-than-serious violations. Proposed penalties total $308,000. A further Case Farms facility in Canton, Ohio, faces an additional $154,000 in penalties after OSHA cited it for five repeated and three serious violations at the beginning of this month.
The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says it cited Case Farms in 2011 for many of the same violations. The agency’s follow-up inspection found 16 repeated and five serious violations of process safety management procedures for ammonia refrigeration systems used in Canton and Winesburg. Inspectors found the company lacked clear, written operating procedures, failed to test and inspect systems and did not provide adequate training for workers.
Case Farms has more than 10,000lb (4,536kg) of ammonia in its refrigeration system at each plant.
The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration report that the company has racked up a total of more than $1.87m in fines this year for exposing workers to multiple safety and health violations. The other violations were not refrigeration related.
“Case Farms needs to protect its workers. Period,” said Dr David Michaels, assistant secretary of labour for occupational safety and health. “The company has a 25-year track record of failing to comply with federal workplace safety standards. OSHA will remain vigilant until the company keeps its workers safe by making needed improvements to equipment, procedures and training.”