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Frozen Food Manufacturer Has an Unusual Response To OSHA Visit Schwan Food Co.

Frozen Food Manufacturer Has an Unusual Response To OSHA Visit

When OSHA inspectors returned to Schwan’s Global Supply Inc.’s Atlanta food manufacturing facility and found previously cited hazards had reoccurred, company management did something unexpected; it took full responsibility for the violations.

Schwan Global Supply took an unusual step when OSHA inspectors returned to its Atlanta facility and found evidence of continued safety violations. The frozen food producer – responsible for popular brands like Red Baron, Tony’s and Freschetta pizza and Mrs. Smith’s desserts – accepted $100,000 in penalties and enhanced safety compliance.

The subsidiary of the Schwan Food Co., a multibillion-dollar private company that sells popular frozen food brands through home delivery, the food service industry and grocery stores in North America, told OSHA the company accepted responsibility for the safety and health hazards and signed a pre-citation settlement agreement with the agency on Jan. 15.

"We are very encouraged that Schwan recognized the safety failures that have reoccurred and is taking full responsibility," said Bill Fulcher, director of OSHA’s Atlanta East Area Office. "The company settled the citations immediately and signed the enhanced compliance agreement as part of its commitment to protect its workers and operate safely. When employers are committed to safety, everyone wins."

OSHA cited Schwan’s Atlanta facility for four repeated, three serious and three other-than-serious safety and health violations. The agency issued repeated citations for failing to:

  • Ensure workers used safety procedures to prevent unexpected machine start up during maintenance and servicing.
  • Ensure machinery was properly guarded.
  • Implement safety procedures for the ammonia refrigeration systems.
  • OSHA previously cited Schwan Global Supply in 2013 for similar violations at the facility. The agency issued serious citations to the company for failing to:
  • Develop written emergency shutdown procedures for the refrigeration system.
  • Train workers, technicians and first responders on emergency action plans or responder's duties for refrigerant spills at the facility.

Other violations include the employer not reviewing operating procedures at least annually and not conducting a respirator fit-test for a first responder.

In its settlement, Schwan Global Supply will pay penalties of $100,000. In addition, the agreement includes extensive enhancements and commitments for safety and health improvements such as:

  • Assuring only authorized, properly trained employees perform service and maintenance on machinery.
  • Hiring a third-party consultant to conduct an audit of the facility focused on equipment, fall, electrical and guarding hazards.
  • Conducting training for employees on emergency shut-down, contractors, first-responder, standard operating procedures for new machinery and keeping OSHA 300 logs.
  • Meeting with OSHA officials quarterly to discuss the status of compliance.

Based in Marshall, Minn., the Schwan Food Co. has approximately 14,000 employees nationwide. The company's Atlanta subsidiary produces dough, cookies and piecrusts and employs approximately 490 workers.

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