Grocery Distributor Cited for Similar Hazards in '04, '05, '06 & Now '08

OSHA has proposed $133,000 in fines against C&S Wholesale Grocers Inc. for alleged repeat and serious safety violations at its Windsor Locks, Conn., warehouse. The citations and fines result from an inspection the agency opened in January 2008 in response to a complaint.

"Unfortunately, conditions cited during the earlier inspection of this workplace have reappeared, once again exposing employees to the dangers of falls, crushing injuries, and electrocution," said C. William Freeman III, OSHA's area director in Hartford, Conn. "The sizable fines proposed in this case reflect the serious and recurring nature of these hazards, and the need for the company to take effective and continuous action to prevent them."

Specifically, OSHA has issued the company three repeat citations, carrying $112,500 in proposed fines, for several instances of large metal storage racks that were unstable due to snapped, bent, or twisted cross bracing or main supports; open-sided work platforms lacking railings or equivalent protection against falls of up to 18 feet; and ungrounded energized metal dock lights. OSHA cited the company for these same conditions in 2004, 2005, and 2006.

The inspection also identified new hazards including unguarded pulleys, lack of auxiliary lighting on pallet jacks, and exposed live electrical wiring. These conditions resulted in the issuance of five serious citations with $20,500 in proposed fines. A serious citation is issued when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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