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Company fined $86,000 by OSHA for six safety violations at Monroeville plant

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Mar 14, 2013 at 11:07 AM

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Berry Plastics Corp. with six safety violations, including two repeat, for failing to document and utilize hazardous energy control procedures and conduct periodic inspections of these procedures after a February 2012 complaint inspection at the company's Monroeville facility.

Proposed fines total $86,000.

"Training workers on proper hazardous energy control procedures can prevent the unexpected energization of machinery and protect workers from injuries while they conduct servicing or maintenance," said Kim Nelson, OSHA's area director in Toledo. "OSHA is committed to protecting the safety and health of workers on the job."

The repeat violations were issued for failing to develop, document and utilize hazardous energy control procedures for machinery in the factory and conduct periodic inspections of these procedures.

Hazardous energy control procedures protect employees by requiring practices and procedures that prevent accidental startup for machines that are undergoing maintenance or servicing. 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.

Berry Plastics was previously cited for these violations in 2010 at the company's Dunkirk, N.Y., facility and in 2012 at the company's Alsip, Ill., site.

A total of four serious safety violations were cited for failing to guard rotating parts on machines, use fixed stairs to access elevated areas of equipment, properly use fall protection equipment and provide electrical safety-related personal protective equipment. 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.

Because of the hazards and the violations cited, Berry Plastics Corp. has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. OSHA's SVEP focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations.

Under the program, OSHA may inspect any of the employer's facilities if it has reasonable grounds to believe there are similar violations.

Berry Plastics, headquartered in Evansville, Ind., produces plastic containers for use in the food industry and operates manufacturing facilities nationwide. In the past four years, the company has been inspected 12 times, resulting in 18 violations at various facilities. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and 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.

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 Toledo Area Office at 419-259-7542. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these 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

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