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Chicago Meat Processor Fined over Safety

06 September 2013

US - Chicago meat processor, Vienna Beef is to be fined $53,000 for 10 serious safety violations.

The charges follow a May inspection at the Chicago meat processing plant initiated by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration Site-Specific Targeting Program, which targets employers who record a higher-than-average injury and illness rate.

"The absence of machine guarding, deficient energy control procedures and lack of employer safety training creates an atmosphere in which workers are vulnerable to injury or even death," said Diane Turek, OSHA's area director for the Chicago North Area Office in Des Plaines.

"Employers, such as Vienna Beef, have a responsibility to evaluate workplaces for existing hazards to protect workers from injuries."

The 10 serious safety violations include lack of energy control procedures; failing to train and evaluate powered industrial vehicle operators; lack of eye and face protection; not providing walking working surfaces that were in good repair; failing to conduct a workplace hazard assessment to identify possible safety issues; and improper use of flexible electrical cords.

The company was also cited for violations that exposed workers to amputation injuries, including failing to lockout and tagout equipment during maintenance to prevent unintentional operation and lack of machine guarding on various machines, such as grinders, augers and mixers.

The company, which was established in 1893, produces hot dogs, sausages, soups and deli meats.

Vienna Beef Ltd. has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and notice of proposed penalties to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

If the company does not file or contest within that period, it must abate the cited conditions within the period ordered in the citations and pay the proposed penalties.

TheMeatSite News Desk



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