A supplier of frozen foods has been accused of serious safety violations at its processing facility in Salina, Kansas.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said last week that it had cited Schwan’s Global Supply Chain Inc. for three repeated, four serious and one other-than-serious safety violations.
The action followed three separate incidents in which two employees at the plant suffered amputations and a third suffered lacerations and burns.
In August 2015 a 55-year-old worker was picking up pizza crumbs and crust that had collected around the oven when her work glove was caught in the unguarded conveyor chain and sprocket drive assembly. Surgeons had to amputate her right hand.
In September 2015 a 49-year-old employee reached into the area of the conveyor to clear a jam of pizza pans. She sustained a laceration, fractures and burns to the palm of left hand. Investigators determined safety guards were not installed on operating parts between the top and bottom conveyors. The machine should have been prevented from operating while unjamming the pizza pans.
In October 2015 a 55-year-old employee was walking under a conveyor in the “new bakery” area, when she reached up to get her balance. As she attempted to stand, her hand inadvertently contacted an unguarded chain and sprocket on the underneath side of a conveyor. As a result, the employee’s middle finger on her left hand was de-gloved and amputated.
OSHA inspectors also found other safety hazards at the facility, including workers with personal protective equipment that did not properly fit; storage of oxygen cylinders near highly combustible material; and exit routes that did not meet height and width requirements.
“Three women’s lives were dramatically altered because their employer failed to protect them from hazardous operating machinery parts,” said Judy Freeman, OSHA area director in Wichita. “Each year, thousands of workers like these suffer amputation and other injuries that are preventable when basic safety guards are in place and proper procedures are followed. Schwan’s needs to protect their workers, and they need to do it now.”
Schwan’s Global Supply Chain is a subsidiary of The Schwan Food Company, a multibillion-dollar private company that sells frozen food brands in North America including Red Baron, Tony’s and Freschetta frozen pizza and Mrs. Smith’s desserts.
The company has been given 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.