OSHA Penalizes Pennsylvania Company for Worker Fatality
Pennsdale, PA – A wholesale meat processing business in Lycoming county, Economy Storage Locker Co. Inc. has been penalized by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for safety violations that were found after an employee died by falling into a commercial meat grinder. The incident resulted in OSHA penalties of $49, 062 for the company.
According to Lycoming County Coroner, on April 22nd, Jill Greninger, 35, of the Williamsport area, was killed instantly when she fell into a meat grinder. Williamsport Sun-Gazette reported that Greninger was standing on a set of stairs with wheels, some 6-feet off the ground. However, it is unclear if she fell into the grinder or was pulled into it as she was perhaps reaching for something in the grinder since no one witnessed the incident. Another co-worker heard an odd sound from the machine, turned it off, and called for help. Firefighters responded to the scene but the employee was already dead.
According to the Pennsylvania Real-Time News, investigators from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration were on the scene following the incident and found that the company had exposed employees to hazards by operating the grinder with an open lid where the operator had been exposed to the rotating mixer paddles.
Other violations that go beyond the incident include:
- The rotating mixer blade on a steam kettle in the scrapple kitchen was unguarded.
- The rotating blade on the emulsifier in the mixer/grinder room was unguarded exposing employees to the possibility of being caught in and struck by it.
- The employer did not identify hazards that would require the use of personal protective equipment.
- Employees in the smokehouse room were not provided or required to wear appropriate eye and face protection when dispensing a corrosive sanitizing chemical. Nor was an eyewash station provided.
- Operators of a forklift were not provided training and evaluated on their skill to operate the equipment.
- Missing breakers in several panel boxes in one room and an open 220-volt fuse box in another exposed employees to an electric shock hazard.
- Safety-related practices were not employed when work was performed on equipment or electrical circuits.
- The employer did not have or implement a written hazard communications program for employees exposed to chemicals.
- Employees did not receive effective training on the use of various chemical products.
Economy Storage Locker Co. Inc. has 15 days to appeal against these citations and penalties.