An OSHA leader says Schwan’s has the chance to make amends, rather than pay the full $185,700 in penalties, if it fixes the safety and training gaffes it was cited for.
Last week, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) slapped Schwan’s Global Supply Chain facility in Atlanta (and two of its staffing and refrigeration partners) with dozens of health and safety violations. If no settlement is reached, the companies will have to pay the full fine amount.
However, Bill Fulcher, director of OSHA's Atlanta-East Area office, told FoodProductionDaily if Schwan’s, staffing agency Adecco, and refrigeration supplier Cimco have a chance to right the ship. If they work to correct the improper ammonia-handling training, inadequate worker protection, and other violations, they could see the price tag lowered.
“Penalty reductions are often a part of settlement discussions,” he said. “Initially, each employer has the opportunity to informally settle their cases within 15 business days of their receipt of the citation packages.”
Fulcher told FPD that the cited parties also can file a notice of contest, and the cases then would be referred for litigation.
According to Fulcher, the violations came after an employee at the Schwan’s facility (which produces dough, cookies, and pie crusts) notified OSHA officials of potential violations. Charges listed in the complaints include raised platforms without proper railing, improperly marked exits, insufficient safety training, exposure to excessive noise without protection, numerous trip hazards at the floor level, and other violations.
Schwan’s spoke out against the claims. Schwan’s communication manager Chuck Blomberg told FoodProductionDaily that workplace safety is a top priority for the firm.
“While we do not agree with the claims, we are taking this matter seriously,” he said. “We are working through this process with OSHA to ensure the safest environment possible for our people.”