CWS 3.0: June 27, 2012

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Firm Gets Proposed Fines in Death of Contract Worker

Tribe Mediterranean Foods, a subsidiary of Nestle SA, was cited for 18 alleged violations of workplace safety and issued a total of $702,300 in proposed fines after the death of a contract worker at its Taunton, Mass., plant on Dec. 16, 2011, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration reported June 18.

The contract worker was cleaning a machine used in hummus manufacturing when he was caught, pulled into the machine and crushed to death between two rotating augers, according to OSHA.

An investigation by the agency found the deceased worker and six others were not trained on “lockout/tagout” procedures to ensure that machines are not operating and cannot unexpectedly activate and harm workers, OSHA reported.

“The employer knew it needed to train these workers so they could protect themselves against just the type of hazard but failed to do so,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “The result was a needless and avoidable loss of life.”

Tribe has 15 days to comply with the proposed penalties or contest the findings.

In a statement issued June 21, Tribe said it is reviewing the allegations.

“Tribe Mediterranean Foods, Inc. deeply regrets the accident that occurred in December 2011, and remains committed to the health and safety of all of its employees,” the company said in a statement. “Tribe is currently reviewing the Occupational Safety and Health Administrations findings and has no further comments at this time.”

Here is a link to the citations.

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