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Publix Set to Shell Out $182,000 in Proposed Penalties after Jacksonville Worker's Hand Was Accidentally Amputated

7:25 PM, Feb 15, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Publix has been cited for 16 safety and health violations at its W. Beaver St. distribution facility, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The agency is proposing penalties totaling $182,000 after receiving a complaint in September that a worker's hand was amputated while cleaning conveyor equipment.

READ THE DOCUMENT: Publix Citation and Notification of Penalty

OSHA cited the store for "failing to utilize procedures for the control of potentially hazardous energy when employees service or clean equipment."  That citation carried a $70,000 price tag.

That citation shows that OSHA didn't think Publix trained its employees properly to avoid amputation while working on some of the warehouse's food manufacturing machines.  It also found that some of the machines weren't properly guarded, leaving workers at risk to be cut or amputated.

OSHA also said warehouse workers were exposed to electrical hazards, and in fact cited the supermarket giant for two repeat violations with penalties of $66,000.

Publix didn't have a lockout/tagout plan in place to lock employees out of machines in the event of a sudden power surge, OSHA found.  Additionally, investigators said Publix wasn't conducting an annual inspection of itsenergy control procedures.

That means Publix had already been cited for these violations in the past. In May 2008, OSHA cited Publix for this violation at another workplace in Dacula, Ga.

In an email statement this afternoon Publix said it plans to appeal OSHA's findings.

"The dignity, value and well-being of our associates are central to our corporate philosophy." said Publix spokesman Dwaine Stevens. "The safety of our associates is paramount and we strive to maintain a safe work environment."

OSHA has given Publix 15 business days to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

"We disagree with the citations issued to our Jacksonville Fresh Foods facility. We disagree with the opinions expressed by OSHA's Jacksonville Area Director, and we plan to appeal the citations," Stevens said. "In the meantime, we are actively working on identifying and addressing any issues that may have contributed to this unfortunate incident." 

 

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