OSHA Finds Appetizer Maker’s Process Safety Procedures Unpalatable

OSHA has cited TransPecos Foods, a provider of frozen gourmet appetizers, for alleged workplace safety and health violations following an inspection at the company's facility in Pecos, Texas. Proposed penalties total $69,650. OSHA's El Paso Area Office initiated its inspection on Oct. 15, 2009. Investigators found that the company, which employs about 150 workers at the site, failed to implement OSHA's process safety management procedures, exposing employees to unsafe working conditions.

The agency alleges 18 serious citations including failing to protect employees from exposed electrical wires, to provide forklift inspections, to protect workers from rotating parts on conveyor belts, to provide a wash station for employees during the use of corrosive chemicals, and to train employees on hazard communication. A serious violation is one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Other-than-serious citations also have been issued for failing to ensure fire extinguishers were properly mounted and to provide illuminated exit signs. An other-than-serious violation is issued when the most serious injury or illness likely to result from a hazardous condition cannot reasonably be predicted to cause death or serious physical harm.

"This company exposed its workers to potential workplace hazards by not following OSHA's process safety management regulations," said Dean McDaniel, the agency's regional administrator in Dallas. "It is fortunate in this case that no one was injured or became ill."

The company has 15 business days from receipt of citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in El Paso, Texas, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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