WKEB Local News

Abbyland Foods Fined by OHSA

Abbyalnd Foods Fined by OHSA  Monday, June 12, 2023

 

ABBOTSFORD, Wis.  Abbyland Foods, a meat and sausage manufacturing plant is under scrutiny following machine safety standards led to two worker amputations, a U.S. Department of Labor investigation found. 

According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Labor, inspectors with the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) were looking into injuries sustained at Abbyland Foods, Inc.

The release said a turning auger on a meat processing machine at Abbyland Foods amputated the top of a 37-year-old worker’s finger in December 2022.  They also  received a report of a second worker’s injury at the plant a month later. In the January 2023 incident, a sliding guard on a trash compactor crushed a 23-year-old worker’s hand.

The investigations led to citations for repeat violations at the plant and 17 serious violations resulting in a proposed $277,472 in penalties by OSHA.

Most of the infractions involved the company’s failure to follow lockout/tagout procedures and provide adequate machine guarding to protect workers during operation.

An operator at the manufacturing plant might have spared the two employees from suffering even more serious hand injuries by following required machine safety standards, a U.S. Department of Labor investigation found.

The release also said: 

Following the December injury, OSHA expanded its inspection under the Wisconsin Food Manufacturing Industry Local Emphasis Program. The emphasis program focuses on many hazards that can lead to serious injury, illness, and death in the food manufacturing industry. OSHA interviewed over 70 employees across all shifts at the facility during the two investigations. 

Before these inspections, OSHA had cited the company with 22 serious violations and, since 2013, has proposed more than $56,000 in penalties for Abbyland Foods’ failures to protect employees’ safety and health, including some of the same hazards identified in the most recent inspections.

Since 1977, Abbyland Foods Inc. has operated a custom meat processing plant and retail store in Abbotsford. Today, the company has more than 1,000 employees in eight divisions that manufacture a variety of cooked meat products and traditional fresh and smokehouse sausage products. Its products are shipped to retail stores and food service clients throughout the U.S.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

 

 

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