Schwan’s faces $172,000 in OSHA fines for 3 serious injuries in 3 months!

OSHA is proposing more than $172,000 in fines for Schwan’s Global Supply Chain Inc. after two workers at its Salina, Kan., plant suffered amputations in separate incidents and a third suffered lacerations and burns.

Schwan's was cited for three repeated, four serious and one other-than-serious safety violations on Feb. 9. Agency inspectors said they found that Schwan's exposed workers to amputation and other serious hazards.

The company is a subsidiary of The Schwan Food Company, a multibillion-dollar private company that sells popular frozen food brands in North America, including Red Baron, Tony's and Freschetta frozen pizza and Mrs. Smith's desserts.

The inspections that resulted in the citations found:

  • Aug. 11, 2015: A 55-year-old worker was picking up pizza crumbs and crust that had collected around the oven when her work glove was caught in the unguarded conveyor chain and sprocket drive assembly. Surgeons had to amputate her right hand. She was unable to work for 55 days.
  • Sept. 30, 2015: A 49-year-old employee reached into the area of the conveyor to clear a jam of pizza pans. She sustained a laceration, fractures and burns to the palm of left hand. Investigators determined safety guards were not installed on operating parts between the top and bottom conveyors. The machine should have been prevented from operating while unjamming the pizza pans. She was unable to work for 46 days following the injury.
  • Oct. 23, 2015: A 55-year-old employee was walking under a conveyor in the "new bakery" area, when she reached up to get her balance. As she attempted to stand, her hand inadvertently contacted an unguarded chain and sprocket on the underneath side of a conveyor. As a result, the employee's middle finger on her left hand was de-gloved and amputated.

The agency said it also found other safety hazards. These included workers with personal protective equipment that did not properly fit; storage of oxygen cylinders near highly combustible material; and exit routes that did not meet height and width requirements.

The Salina facility employs 1,300 of the Schwan’s 13,000 total employees.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its 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.

By Tom Johnston on 2/12/2016