OSHA points to lack of LOTO training as cause of employee death

Date Posted
Mike Rich

OSHA has cited Tribe Mediterranean Foods, a subsidiary of Nestle SA, that manufactures Tribe brand hummus products, for 18 alleged violations of workplace safety standards following the death of a worker at its Taunton production plant.

On Dec. 16, 2011 OSHA opened an inspection into the company after a contract employee who was cleaning and sanitizing a machine used in the hummus manufacturing process was caught, pulled into the machine and crushed to death between two rotating augers.

OSHA’s investigation found Tribe Mediterranean Foods did not train the deceased worker and six other workers who cleaned plant machinery on hazardous energy control or “lockout/tagout” procedures.

These are the procedures employers must put into effect to shut down machines and lock out their power sources before cleaning or performing maintenance on them. The purpose of lockout/tagout procedures is to ensure that the machines are not operating, and cannot unexpectedly activate and harm workers. OSHA requires that employers train workers so that they understand the purpose of the energy control procedures, and have the knowledge and skills required to safely utilize them.

“The employer knew it needed to train these workers so they could protect themselves against just this type of hazard but failed to do so. The result was a needless and avoidable loss of life,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “In this case, Tribe Mediterranean Foods’ knowledge and continuous disregard for an obvious and deadly hazard was so pronounced that we are issuing seven willful citations for lack of training, one for each untrained worker exposed to the hazard.”

If your company needs to train employees on Lockout tag out call 877-201-8923.

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