Frozen Food Company to Pay $100,000 in Penalties and Improve Safety at Facilities Pre-Citation by OSHA

Monday, January 25, 2016

The subsidiary of The Schwan Food Company, a multibillion-dollar private company that sells popular frozen food brands through home delivery, the food service industry and grocery stores in North America, accepted responsibility for the safety and health hazards and signed a pre-citation settlement agreement with OSHA on January 15, 2015.

OSHA cited Schwan, which manufactures frozen foods sold under several brand names, including Red Baron, Tony's and Freschetta pizza and Mrs. Smith's desserts, at its Atlanta facility, for four repeated, three serious and three other-than-serious safety and health violations.

The agency issued repeated citations for failing to:

Ensure workers used safety procedures to prevent unexpected machine start up during maintenance and servicing.
Ensure machinery was properly guarded.
Implement safety procedures for the ammonia refrigeration systems.

OSHA previously cited Schwan Global Supply in 2013 for similar violations at the facility.

The agency issued serious citations to the company for failing to:

Develop written emergency shutdown procedures for the refrigeration system.
Train workers, technicians and first responders on emergency action plans or responder's duties for refrigerant spills at the facility.
Other violations include the employer not reviewing operating procedures at least annually and not conducting a respirator fit-test for a first responder.

In its settlement, Schwan Global Supply will pay penalties of $100,000. In addition, the agreement includes extensive enhancements and commitments for safety and health improvements such as:

Assuring only authorized, properly trained employees perform service and maintenance on machinery.
Hiring a third-party consultant to conduct an audit of the facility focused on equipment, fall, electrical and guarding hazards.
Conducting training for employees on emergency shut-down, contractors, first-responder, standard operating procedures for new machinery and keeping OSHA 300 logs.
Meeting with OSHA officials quarterly to discuss the status of compliance.

Based in Marshall, Minnesota, the Schwan Food Company has approximately 14,000 employees nationwide. The company's Atlanta subsidiary with approximately 490 workers produces dough, cookies and piecrusts for popular products .

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

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