Gilman Cheese Corp. could have to pay $126,700 after OSHA cited them for 10 safety violations.
One of the violations involved an unguarded cheese packing and labeling machine, resulting in an employee having two fingers amputated. OSHA found that another worker suffered a similar amputation in January 2012.
“This tragedy could have been prevented if Gilman Cheese Corp. ensured adequate machine guarding and lockout/tagout procedures,” said Mark Hysell, OSHA’s area director in Eau Claire. “Too often, compromised safety procedures have tragic consequences. OSHA is committed to protecting workers on the job.”
Additionally, six serious violations involve inadequate guarding on a bench grinder and a portable grinder; lack of adequate emergency eyewash stations for workers handling corrosives; operating powered industrial vehicles without adequate training and inspections; using a flexible cord as permanent wiring; lack of an electrical safety program; and failing to provide training on bloodborne pathogens to those who cleaned equipment following the amputation. A serious violation occurs 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.
Two other-than-serious violations include obstructing a means of egress and using compressed air greater than 30 pounds per square inch for cleaning. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
Because of the hazards and the willful violations cited, Gilman Cheese Corp. has been placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law.
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