CWS 3.0: March 19, 2014

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Buyer Faces $185,700 in OSHA Fines

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited three companies for serious safety and health violations, including a contingent workforce buyer and its staffing provider. The penalties assessed ranged from $20,160 to more than $180,000.

Schwan’s Global Supply Chain Inc. was cited for 32 violations at its Atlanta facility. OSHA also cited staffing provider Adecco USA Inc., as well as Cimco Refrigeration Inc., which provided service and maintenance for the ammonia refrigeration system at the facility.

“All workers, whether full-time or temporary, deserve the same commitment and access to a safe workplace. Schwan's, Cimco Refrigeration and Adecco are not providing that for their employees,” said Bill Fulcher, director of OSHA’s Atlanta-East Area Office. “OSHA standards are there to protect workers from predictable and preventable injuries and deaths. These standards were disregarded at the expense of worker safety.”

Minnesota-based Schwan’s, which manufactures frozen foods sold under brand names including Red Baron pizza and Mrs. Smith’s desserts, employs approximately 14,000 employees nationwide. The Atlanta facility employs approximately 494 workers.

Inspectors found the employers did not provide adequate training for employees to work safely with ammonia, a hazardous and corrosive chemical used in refrigeration, according to OSHA. The employers also were cited for exposing workers to unguarded machines and damaging noise levels, and for failure to provide properly fitted personal protective equipment. OSHA initiated the inspection at Schwan's facility in September 2013, following a worker complaint. OSHA's citations carry $185,700 in penalties for Schwan's.

OSHA inspectors found that temporary workers in the Schwan’s facility, employed by the Adecco staffing agency, were also exposed to hazards, and cited Adecco for 12 serious safety and health violations, carrying penalties of $58,500. These included noise and unguarded machines and platforms, which created a fall hazard. Adecco maintains an office at the Schwan’s facility and provides labor and management of the on-site workforce, according to OSHA.

“Adecco Staffing was notified that OSHA citations were issued in regards to conditions at a client site,” Adecco said in a statement. “We take these notifications very seriously and although we will be contesting the findings, we will work in complete cooperation with OSHA protocol and procedure.”

“As a provider of workforce solutions to virtually every Fortune 500 company, and an employer of hundreds of thousands of workers each year, we are fully committed to ensuring that all of our offices, branches and client assignment sites are safe environments for our colleagues and associates,” Adecco said.

Cimco Refrigeration Inc. was cited for six serious safety and health violations, carrying penalties of $20,160.

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