Grocer Faces $97,500 Penalty for Recurring Electrical, Crushing Hazards

OSHA has proposed $97,500 in fines against C&S Wholesale Grocers for alleged repeat and serious violations of safety standards following inspections of company warehouses in Windsor Locks and Suffield, Conn. The bulk of the citations and fines address the recurrence of hazards cited during a 2008 OSHA inspection of the Windsor Locks warehouse.

"Unfortunately, several of the hazardous conditions cited in 2008 have returned, again putting workers at risk of serious injuries or death from electrical and crushing hazards," said Robert Kowalski, OSHA's acting area director in Hartford, Conn. "The sizable fines proposed here reflect both the gravity and recurring nature of these hazards. This employer must implement effective and continual corrective action to eliminate these hazards at all its locations, now and in the future."

The current OSHA inspection found damaged storage racks, an ungrounded energized dock light, an energized wall outlet box lacking a knockout plug, and unguarded moving machine parts at Windsor Locks; no auxiliary lighting for powered pallet jacks at Suffield that were operating in areas where the dock lights were not in working order; and exposed energized electrical conductors on loading dock lamps at both locations. Since OSHA cited the company in July 2008 for similar hazards, these latest conditions resulted in the issuance of seven repeat citations with $82,500 in proposed fines.

Three serious citations, with $15,000 in fines, were issued for allowing the use of man basket lifts on powered industrial trucks without first obtaining the manufacturer's approval, exposed live electrical parts, and exposed electrical conductors. OSHA issues serious citations when death or serious physical harm is likely to result from hazards about which the employer knew or should have known.

C&S has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, participate in an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Hartford Area Office. To report workplace accidents, fatalities, or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call OSHA's toll-free hotline number at 800-321-6742.

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