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Nebraska Beef Fined over Safety Violations

13 March 2013

US – The US Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has charged Nebraska Beef with eight safety violations, including one repeat, for failing to guard open stairs and platforms to prevent a fall hazard at its Omaha beef processing plant.

Proposed penalties of $61,084 resulted from the November local emphasis programm inspection for high-hazard general industry establishments, as identified by injury and illness rates in Nebraska.

"Nebraska Beef has a responsibility to recognise the hazards that exist in the workplace and to install barriers, signage and make appropriate repairs to ensure a safe working environment," said Bonita Winingham, OSHA's area director in Omaha.

"Employers who are cited for repeat violations demonstrate a lack of commitment to employee safety and health."

The repeat violation was cited for failing to provide standard railings and toe boards on open-sided floors and platforms four feet or above an adjacent floor or ground level.

This violation was noted on a crossover platform in the scale room.

A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. A similar violation was cited in 2011.

Seven serious violations were cited for failing to post warning signs indicating permit required confined spaces, use lockout/tagout devices for purposes other than controlling energy sources, and provide an eyewash station and a clear path to safety showers for employees exposed to corrosive chemicals, such as bleach, and properly adjust machine guarding.

Three of the violations involve electrical safety standards, including operating machinery with visible electrical hazards, such as broken wires and damaged junction boxes, and failing to cover outlet boxes and use permanent wiring instead of flexible electrical cords.

A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Nebraska Beef has been inspected 12 times since 1998, resulting in several citations for violations, such as lack of fall protection, inadequate machine guarding and electrical safety hazards.

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

TheMeatSite News Desk

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