July 28, 2016
Employer name: Great Southern Peanut LLC
Inspection site: 132 5th St., Leesburg, Georgia 31763
Citations issued: The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued citations to the employer on July 25 for 13 repeated, four serious and four other-than-serious safety and health violations.
Investigation findings: OSHA initiated the follow-up inspection to verify abatement of hazards from citations the agency issued to Great Southern Peanut and Georgia Farm Services LLC in March 2014.
The repeated citations relate to the employer’s failure to:
Properly guard open sided floors and platforms.
Keep floors clean and dry in the vehicle service pit area.
Develop and implement procedures to enter a confined space area.
Keep surfaces free from hazardous accumulations of combustible peanut dust.
Provide a handrail and railing on a fixed stairway.
The serious citations relate to the employer:
Not having the required height for a guard railing system.
Exposing workers to unguarded horizontal shafts.
Failing to have stairway risers uniform and consistent.
The other-than-serious citation relates to the employer:
Not posting the annual summary of workplace injuries and illnesses recorded on the OSHA 300 log.
Failing to provide medical evaluations for employees required to wear respirators.
Failing to provide baseline and annual audiogram testing for employees exposed to noise.
Proposed penalties: $110,310
Quote: “Great Southern Peanut continues to ignore its responsibility to protect workers from hazards that could potentially result in serious injury or death,” said Kimberly Austin acting director of OSHA’s Savannah Area Office. “Employers should not wait for an OSHA inspection to identify hazards; they must be proactive in identifying and removing hazards.”
The citations can be viewed at: https://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/GreatSouthernPeanut_1107788.pdf
OSHA is considering placing Great Southern Peanut LLC in its Severe Violators Enforcement Program. The program focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. Under the program, OSHA may inspect any of the employer’s facilities if it has reasonable grounds to believe there are similar violations.
Great Southern Peanut processes raw peanuts to include cleaning, shelling, sorting, packaging and shipping. The employer has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions; obtain compliance assistance; file a complaint or report amputations, eye loss, 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 Savannah Area Office at 912-652-4393.
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. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov/.