OSHA fines company $86,900 for exposing workers to repeat safety violations

Company employs more than 1,600 people at 11 locations in Ohio and Kentucky.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Feb 16, 2014

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited G&J Pepsi-Cola Bottlers Inc. for seven workplace health and safety violations, carrying proposed penalties of $86,900. OSHA initiated an inspection of the Franklin Furnace plant in July 2013 under its Site-Specific Targeting Program, which targets facilities with higher than average illness and injury rates.

“This company consistently failed to protect its workers and implement basic safety requirements,” said Bill Wilkerson, OSHA’s area director in Cincinnati. “Repeat violations demonstrate a lack of commitment to employee safety and health, and that is unacceptable when employee safety is on the line.”

Two repeat safety violations involve failing to ensure that employees utilize appropriate personal protective  equipment when working with electrical sources and implement lockout/tagout procedures to prevent the unintentional startup of equipment during maintenance and servicing, when employees are most at risk.

A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. The same violations were cited in 2009 at the company’s Hamilton facility.

Five serious safety citations were issued to the company. Two of those violations involved failure to use lockout/tagout procedures. The remaining three included failing to perform hazard assessments related to personal protective equipment, failure to use appropriate protective equipment and failure to perform annual fit testing to ensure employees wore respirators. 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.

G&J employs more than 1,600 people at 11 locations in Ohio and Kentucky, including production facilities in Lexington and Winchester, Ky., and in Columbus and Portsmouth, Ohio. G&J has distribution centers in Hamilton, Ripley, Hillsboro, Athens, Chillicothe, and Zanesville and in Harrodsburg, Ky. The company has contested the findings before the independent Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission.

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.

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 Cincinnati Area Office at (513)841-4132

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.