Omaha‒ Monday, The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced that it has cited Hastings Acquisition LLC.
Hastings Acquisition, which operates as Nebraska Prime Group, a meat packing facility in Hastings, was cited for 11 safety violations. OSHA opened an inspection after a worker had become caught in a machine and was asphyxiated on Jan. 18.
The worker was asphyxiated when his clothing got caught in the drive roller of a hide belt.
Two related willful violations involve improper machine guarding ‒ which exposes employees to amputation and strangulation hazards ‒ and not supplying sufficient number of lockout devices for all servicing and maintenance employees to secure the energy sources of mechanical equipment.
A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowledge or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
"It is unthinkable that an employer would allow employees to work in and around dangerous equipment that lacks machine guarding," said Charles E. Adkins, OSHA's regional administrator in Kansas City, Mo. "All employers must take the necessary steps to eliminate hazards from the workplace."
Nine other serious violations were also cited, including failure to train workers on protecting themselves from hazards associated with loose clothing around moving equipment- the cause of the incident resulting in the asphyxiation of an employee.
A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Proposed penalties total $195,100. The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/HastingsAcquisitionLLC_190339_0712_12.pdf
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Omaha Area Office at 402-553-0717.