Kraft Foods to Pay Fine for Safety, Health Violations

Kraft Foods North America, a Philip-Morris Co. in Houston, Texas,\r\nhas agreed to pay $117,000 in penalties for citations issued by\r\nOSHA.

Kraft Foods North America, a Philip-Morris Co. in Houston, Texas, has agreed to pay $117,000 in penalties for citations issued by OSHA.

In agreeing to pay the penalty, the company has also agreed to correct the violations, said Raymond Skinner, Houston South OSHA area director.

"The company has committed additional resources to improve the safety and health program by holding monthly safety meetings in each department and by providing hazard recognition training to those individuals who will be conducting inspections of the facility," said Skinner.

OSHA discovered the violations during an inspection that began Jan. 30, 2001, in response to a Local Emphasis Program developed by OSHA''s Houston South office to address safety and health hazards in the food processing industry.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the food processing industry as one of the top five high hazard industries.

The company was cited with 46 serious violations and two other-than-serious violations.

Serious violations included failure to comply with standards on housekeeping, guarding of open-side floors, fixed ladders, means of egress, man lifts, lockout/tagout procedures, fire extinguishers, material handling equipment, compressed air used for welding, electrical, flammable/combustible liquid storage, respirators, hazard communication and point of operation guarding.

The two other-than-serious violations were for an insufficient number of respirators and fire extinguishers.

Headquartered in Northfield, Ill., Kraft Foods North America employs about 432 workers in its Houston plant and produces instant, roasted and decaffeinated coffees.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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