Tortilla Maker Gets Served $231,600 in OSHA-Proposed Penalties

OSHA is proposing $231,600 in penalties against Los Amigos Tortilla Manufacturing Co. in Atlanta for safety and health violations. Of that total, the agency is proposing $207,000 in penalties for the company's failure to correct seven violations identified during an inspection in 2008. These include the company's failure to establish an energy control program to ensure that machinery would not start up while employees are conducting maintenance or servicing on a machine or piece of equipment.

In addition, the company failed to correct electrical hazards and dangers created by using machinery that lacked protection to prevent employees from being pulled into moving parts, OSHA said. The company also allegedly failed to ensure that employees were trained in the use of fire protective equipment, use of power trucks, and the safe use of hazardous chemicals.

Eight serious violations with proposed penalties of $24,000 resulted from the most recent inspection in 2009, which found that the company exposed employees to several electrical hazards, employees did not use personal protective equipment, and management failed to provide employees protection from hazardous machinery and chemicals. One other-than-serious citation with a $600 proposed penalty is being issued for the company's failure to post its 2008 annual summary of injuries and illnesses.

"OSHA's previous inspections made Los Amigos fully aware of the needed changes to its safety and health program," said Andre Richards, area director of OSHA's Atlanta-West office. "All employees have a right to a safe workplace, and it is irresponsible of an employer to continue exposing its employees to work hazards."

Los Amigos, a wholesale food manufacturer, has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to contest the violations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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