Federal Investigators Responding to Report of Employee’s Severe Burns Find Multiple Safety Hazards at Green Bay Sanimax Facility
OSHA proposes $296K in penalties to Wisconsin facility
GREEN BAY, WI (STL.News) Federal safety inspectors responded to a Green Bay rendering plant after an employee suffered severe burns when a pump seal released steam and hot oil as workers tried to clear a blockage in January 2023.
Inspectors with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined Sanimax USA LLC failed to develop and implement hazardous energy control procedures when clearing blocked pumps and piping at its Badgerland Drive facility.
OSHA officials also found workers exposed to the following hazards:
- Fall dangers related to broken guardrails, unprotected sides and edges of walking and working surfaces, and walking surfaces covered with production liquids.
- Risks associated with failing to prevent explosion hazards caused by allowing the build-up of combustible dust and not training employees to recognize dust hazards and protective measures.
- Dangers related to electrical hazards and unguarded pulleys, shafts, belts, and production equipment.
- Unguarded or unlabeled hot steam and process pipes throughout the rendering area.
The agency issued citations to Sanimax for three repeat and 10 serious safety and health violations and proposed $296,668 in penalties. OSHA cited the company for similar violations in 2022 and 2019.
“In the past five years, OSHA has cited Sanimax for violations like those found in this investigation. The company is well aware of the need to guard equipment and keep surfaces free of liquids that can create slip and fall hazards. Failing to heed previous OSHA citations and correct deficiencies puts employees at risk,” explained OSHA Area Director Robert Bonack in Appleton, Wisconsin. “Employers can prevent injuries by following required safety procedures and by training workers to recognize and mitigate hazards.”
OSHA expanded the inspection under its Local Emphasis Program for Wisconsin’s food manufacturing industry instituted in April 2022. LEPs are created when OSHA sees industry injury rates exceed national averages. Food manufacturing workers often face hazards related to improper machine guarding and lockout/tagout failures that expose them to serious injury, illness, and death. These inspections often include second and third shifts, as well as sanitation operations and associated cleaning contractors.
Based in Green Bay, Sanimax USA LLC is a subsidiary of Sanimax of Canada. The company transforms organic materials from the agri-food industry into industrial ingredients used to manufacture everyday items such as fats and oils and pet food and proteins. In the U.S., the company operates facilities in Wisconsin in Green Bay and DeForest and in St. Paul, Minnesota.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Source: U.S. Department of Labor