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OSHA Imposes High Fine for Serial Infractions of Safety Rules

12/04/2023

The Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) imposed a $280,000 penalty on Sugar Creek Packing Company for severe injuries sustained by a worker after coming into contact with corrosive chemicals.

 

Investigation of the case disclosed that there were deficiencies in lockout procedures, failure to provide protective clothing resistant to corrosive chemicals and inadequacies in training among service and maintenance personnel.

 

Sugar Creek Packing has violated safety regulations since 2014 with repeat findings in 2019 and 2022 for similar hazards at the Washington Court House and Fairfield Plants.  OSHA area director, Ken Montgomery noted, “despite multiple employee injuries and repeated OSHA citations, Sugar Creek Packing Company continues to ignore federal regulations and industry-recognized safety requirements to protect employees from harm, including amputation and other hazards.”  He added, “The company’s recent workplace safety failures allowed an employee to suffer painful and preventable injuries”. Sugar Creek Packing Company employs over 2,000 at six plants in Ohio, Indiana and Kansas.

 

While the OSHA fine may appear high it reflects the gravity of repeated serious violations.  Ultimately, Sugar Creek Packing Company will be subject to a civil claim. In view of the injuries sustained and the obvious negligence involved this incident will result in a substantial out-of- court settlement since a negotiated resolution will certainly be cheaper than a jury verdict especially if punitive damages are awarded.