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Massachusetts Food Distributor Cited by OSHA

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Progressive Gourmet Inc. was cited by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for repeated and serious safety violations at its Wilmington production facility. The wholesale manufacturer and distributor faces a total of $73,400 in fines after an inspection in response toemployees‘ complaints.

OSHA found that the facility lacked satisfactory procedures to prevent the inadvertent startup of machinery while employees performed service and maintenance to the equipment. The company also failed to provide employees with adequate information and training on how to power down and lock the power sources before performing maintenance on the machines.

Because of these conditions, the company was cited for $55,000 for two repeat violations. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation within the last five years within the last five years. Similar violations were cited in 2008 at this same location.

OSHA also issued three citations for lack of routine inspections and maintenance to ensure safe operation of the plant’s anhydrous ammonia refrigeration system, insufficient space between stored materials and overhead piping containing ammonia to allow for safe access to stored materials, and slipping and tripping hazards from wet work floors. “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.”

The area director said, “Left uncorrected, these conditions expose employees to a release of ammonia, slips and falls and to being caught in unexpectedly activated machinery. Prompt, effective and ongoing corrective action is necessary to eliminate these hazards and prevent their recurrence.”

Pulgini & Norton, LLP attorneys have handled workers’ compensation claims for over 25 years in and around Boston and its surrounding areas. If you or a family member has been injured at work and would like to seek legal assistance, please contact us at (781) 843-2200 or (888) 344-2046 or email us.

Cited resources:

US Labor Department’s OSHA cites Massachusetts wholesale food manufacturer/distributor for energy control, ammonia and other hazards: Progressive Gourmet Inc. faces $73,400 in fines, OSHA, January 6, 2013

Employee complaints led to food firm OSHA investigation, FoodQualitynews.com, January 17, 2013

Employee Complaints Lead to Food Distributor Investigation, Occupational Health & Safety, January 17, 2013

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