OSHA Fines Canning Company $121,050

A Hessmer, La., employer's alleged failure to protect employees from a wide range of hazards has resulted in citations for 49 alleged violations of safety and health standards from OSHA, with proposed penalties total $121,050.

Allen Canning Co. was cited for the alleged violations following an inspection that began March 13 under the Site-Specific Targeting Plan, in which OSHA targets workplaces with high injury and illness rates.

The company cans and distributes vegetables at the Hessmer plant. The company, headquartered in in Siloam Springs, Ark., operates seven plants nationwide.

"The Department of Labor ensures workers are protected with a safe and healthy workplace, and this must be a priority of employers. OSHA has inspected this company 11 times since 1984 and has issued 68 citations," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "Allen Canning Co.'s establishments have consistently been cited for violating health and safety standard similar to those found in this recent inspection. This company's safety performance is unacceptable and we will not allow this persistent disregard for worker protections."

Forty-eight of the alleged violations were deemed serious, meaning the hazards could cause death or serious physical harm to employees, and the employer knew or should have known about them. These include failure to protect employees against hazards associated with powered industrial trucks, slipping or falling hazards on walking and working surfaces, potential falls from elevated surfaces, improperly guarded machines, material handling hazards, improper electrical wiring, defective hoists and blocked emergency exits.

An other-than-serious citation was issued for failing to develop a written respiratory program and provide training for employees required to wear respirators. An other-than-serious violation is a hazardous condition that would probably not cause death or serious physical harm, but would have a direct and immediate relationship to the safety and or health of the employees.

Allen Canning Co. has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the Baton Rouge area office, or to contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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