A health and wellness company that makes omega-3 products for human and animal consumption was cited with 25 safety and health violations following the death of a worker who became caught in a rotating screw conveyer at the company’s Mississippi processing plant.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the workplace fatality triggered an inspection of Houston, Texas-based Omega Protein Inc.’s plant in Moss Point, Miss. Inspectors found 21 serious violations of safety and health regulations at the plant, in addition to four “other- than-serious” violations. OSHA deems a violation serious when it poses a substantial risk of injury or death.
“This terrible incident could have been avoided if the employer had followed OSHA’s standards for energy control procedures,” said Clyde Payne, area director at OSHA’s Jackson, Miss., office. “It is the employer’s responsibility to make sure that employees are aware of and follow energy control procedures for their protection when working on any machinery.”
The serious violations involved failing to have employees affix personal lockout devices to a group lockout device; develop a written respirator protection program; develop and document procedures for controlling hazardous energy; provide training for forklift operators; conduct annual noise training; properly secure compressed gas cylinders; and provide a suitable facility for quick eye and body drenching or flushing.
OSHA also identified fall and electrical hazards; a lack of equipment guarding on rotating drums, fan blades, and other potentially dangerous machinery; and a lack of guarding on the belts and pulleys of the grinding screw and the hopper screw conveyor. Proposed fines for the safety violations totaled $79,200.