Bimbo Bakeries Fined $230K for 'Systemic Problems' in California

The Department of Industrial Relations’ Division of Occupational Safety and Health, better known as Cal/OSHA, recently issued $230,535 in citations to Bimbo Bakeries for 20 violations of state safety and health laws at three separate locations across the state. The inspections, initiated in November, are a continuation of ongoing enforcement activity with the company. Citations were issued at facilities in Escondido, Montebello, and San Francisco.

“Our primary concern is for the safety of employees at these job sites and the steps that Bimbo needs to take to ensure a safe work environment,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Len Welsh. “We believe there are systemic problems which have resulted in numerous employees suffering amputations due to unguarded equipment.”

Cal/OSHA’s High Hazard Unit has focused on the baking industry with Bimbo Bakeries gaining more attention due to recent accidents and ongoing litigation with the company. The High Hazard Unit conducted the recent inspections and found that the company’s facilities continued to allow unguarded equipment to be operated.

“Our inspections have shown that the company has not fully addressed ongoing safety issues that expose employees to serious harm,” Welsh said. “Our actions today continue to send a strong message to this company that they cannot allow such hazards to exist which put the safety of their employees in jeopardy.”

The $230,535 citations were issued to three locations including the Escondido facility, which was issued five citations, including three willful citations totaling $123,535. The violations included no injury and illness prevention plan; no emergency eye wash or shower equipment in battery changing area; and several violations of unguarded pulleys, sprockets, and shafts on equipment.

The Montebello facility was issued six citations totaling $30,250. The violations included no emergency eye wash or shower equipment; incomplete hazardous energy control procedures; and several violations of unguarded pulleys, sprockets, and shafts on equipment.

The San Francisco facility was issued two citations totaling $76,750. The violations included not conducting annual reviews of the hazardous energy control procedures; improper use of electrical cords; unguarded pulleys; sprockets and shafts on equipment; and not using required lock out procedures to prevent inadvertent movement of equipment during cleaning and maintenance.

Willful citations are issued when evidence shows that the employer knew violations existed which could lead to serious physical harm or a fatality and took no action to correct the violation. Bimbo Bakery had previously been cited for amputations occurring to employees at separate locations due to unguarded equipment going back to 2003.

The company has 15 business days to appeal or to accept the violations and pay the penalties. The company has appealed past violations but Cal/OSHA has fought to sustain the penalties and continues to litigate two cases before the Appeals Board.

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