Federal officials have cited a Wisconsin sauerkraut manufacturer for multiple safety violations after a worker was seriously injured by falling into a deep sauerkraut vat.
GLK Foods of Bear Creek, Wis., faces fines of $143,550 for multiple violations that endanger its workers, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said. The April 13 citation was the fourth time in five years OSHA has cited the company for its noncompliance with federal safety rules and standards.
OSHA said it investigated GLK Foods after a 35-year old worker fell more than 17 feet into an empty vat used for making industrial-size batches of sauerkraut. The worker sustained multiple injuries, including several broken bones.
“If GLK Foods had fixed safety discrepancies found in previous OSHA inspections this man’s injury would likely have been prevented,” said Robert Bonack, OSHA’s area director in Appleton, Wis.
Mr. Bonack said there were more than 86,300 job-related injuries and illnesses recorded for Wisconsin workers in 2014, indicating the state had a long way to go to make sure employees can go to work and return home unharmed each day.
“Too many workers suffer life-altering injuries because employers fail to follow common sense safety procedures and regulations to protect them on the job,” Mr. Bonack said.
The agency issued GLK Foods one willful, two repeat, and five serious safety violation, plus one other-than-serious violation. OHSA inspectors found that the company failed to protect employees from falling while working on top of large cabbage fermentation vats and other elevated platforms.
OSHA also said the company violated federal rules concerning confined spaces, safeguard on moving machinery, and locking devices to prevent conveyors unintentionally turning on, among others.
According to OSHA, GLK Foods is the largest sauerkraut maker in the world. Its facilities in Bear Creek, Wis., and Shortsville, N.Y., process 140,000 tons of raw cabbage annually.
Source: The U.S. Department of Labor