June 18, 2018
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Biddeford bakery hit with OSHA fines

By Matt Wickenheiser, BDN Staff

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed fines of $104,700 for alleged workplace safety violations at a Biddeford bakery.

In a Monday release, OSHA detailed the allegations against Interstate Brands, doing business as Hostess Brands. The problems include eight “serious” and two repeat violations, OSHA charged.

“Our inspection identified mechanical, electrical, fall and exit hazards, including some similar to those cited at other Interstate Brands facilities,” said William Coffin, OSHA’s area director for Maine. “Left uncorrected, these violations expose workers to the hazards of electrocution, lacerations, amputation, falls, being caught in operating or unexpectedly activated machinery and being unable to exit the workplace swiftly in the event of a fire or other emergency.”

According to the release, OSHA inspectors reported missing guardrails that would prevent workers from falling into hoppers; a locked emergency exit door and an exit route blocked by product racks; unguarded moving machine parts on a conveyor belt, band saw blade, drill press and other equipment; a lack of documented procedures to prevent the unintended activation of machinery during maintenance; and individuals working on live electrical equipment who were not familiar with the protective equipment needed for such work.

The recurring violations, OSHA said, involve failing to guard chains and sprockets on a cake conveyor and a packaging machine feeder and failure to provide personal protective equipment to safeguard employees against electrical shocks, arc flashes and arc blasts while working with live electrical parts.

OSHA said it cited International Brands in 2010 for similar hazards at plants in Columbus, Ga., and Schiller Park, Ill.

The company has 15 days to deal with the alleged problems or to contest the findings. The citations can be found at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/InterstateBrands_315672352_1222_11.pdf.

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