OSHA cited Agway Inc., Guilderland Center, N.Y., and proposed penalties of $137,500 against the firm following an accident in which an employee was permanently paralyzed.
According to OSHA area director John Tomich, the action results from an investigation begun by OSHA on Aug. 16, 1999, following an accident at the feed mill, in which an employee was permanently paralyzed in a fall.
The employee, who was standing on a conveyor, attempting to replace a broken conveyor belt, fell 9 feet to the concrete floor below and landed on a steel strip bolted to the floor.
"What we find especially significant," said Tomich, "is that, shortly after the employee was taken to the hospital, two other employees were directed to continue the work-under the exact same hazardous conditions. Clearly there was a hazardous condition, but the employer was indifferent to the consequences."
OSHA alleges that the company willfully violated OSHA's fall protection standard by failing to provide a guarded work platform or other form of fall protection.
The firm also allegedly did not follow required group lockout-tagout procedures when performing maintenance on the conveyor to prevent accidental startup while the equipment was being serviced.
Agway was also charged for having inadequate standard railing on work platforms.
The company has until March 8 to contest the citations.