RUTLEDGE -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Supermarket Equipment Sales for 17 safety and health violations following a February complaint about the company's facility in Rutledge. Proposed penalties total $62,300.
Fifteen serious safety and health violations include failing to ensure the lighting installed in the spray booths was explosion-proof, provide machine guarding, ensure respirators were maintained in sanitary condition and maintain a written hazard communication program, according to OSHA. Additional violations included failing to develop specific lockout/tagout procedures for equipment; provide workers with training on energy control procedures; inspect powered industrial trucks with deficiencies before putting them into service; store carbon dioxide cylinders where they could not be knocked over; ensure two-ton hooks were not overloaded beyond their rated capacity; and ensure covers were installed on electrical panels. Additionally, the company exposed employees to fire, explosion and fall hazards and allowed the amount of flammable/combustible paint stored in the spray booth to exceed a one-day supply, according to OSHA. 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.
Two other-than-serious violations with no monetary penalties were also cited for allowing employees to operate a powered industrial truck that had not been evaluated since 2004, and for not ensuring fire extinguishers were charged and ready for use. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
"A wide range of safety and health hazards were identified that need to be eliminated from the workplace," said Bill Fulcher, director of OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office. "Employers cannot wait for an OSHA inspection to identify hazards that are exposing their employees to serious injuries. Implementing preventive programs and systems that ensure such hazards are identified and corrected as part of day-to-day operations is critical."
A manager at Supermarket Equipment Sales had no comment.
Supermarket Equipment Sales specializes in remanufacturing supermarket and restaurant equipment. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Atlanta-East office at 770-493-6644.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's is charged with ensuring those conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.