Wholesale Food Distributor Cited for 'Cross Section' of Warehouse Woes

OSHA has cited Bozzuto's Inc. for 25 alleged violations of safety standards at its Cheshire, Conn., food distribution warehouse. The company, a wholesale distributor of food and household products to retailers in New England, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, faces a total of $58,750 in proposed fines.

"These citations address a cross section of mechanical, electrical and exit access hazards that exposed workers to the dangers of electric shock, lacerations, amputation, and being caught in operating machinery or unable to swiftly exit the workplace in the event of a fire or other emergency," said Kang Yi, OSHA's acting area director in Bridgeport, Conn. "It is imperative that the company take effective action to ensure that all such conditions are corrected and do not reoccur."

OSHA's inspection found workers unable to open emergency exit doors from inside the workplace; a lack of specific procedures to lock out the power sources for compactors and other machines to prevent their unintended startup during service or maintenance; an unguarded grinder, table saw, compactor, and other machinery; missing guardrails; no workplace hazard assessment to determine what types of personal protective equipment workers would need; a deficient respiratory protection program; unlabeled lifting slings; improperly stored oxygen cylinders; and several electrical hazards.

These conditions have resulted in OSHA issuing the company 20 serious citations with $55,750 in proposed fines. 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. The company also has been issued five other-than-serious violations, with $3,000 in fines, chiefly for incomplete recording of injuries and illnesses.

Bozzuto's has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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