A tip-off that prompted OSHA to investigate a South Texas commercial bakery could lead to fines totaling almost $230,000. But it wasn’t employee whistle-blowing that led the federal agency to crack down on Lone Star Bakery.
Inspectors swooped in on the company’s two China Grove food-service plants after a worker’s fingertip was amputated on a pie processing line.
The ensuing probe resulted in citations for 49 alleged safety violations at the plants, located near San Antonio. OSHA said 32 of the violations were “serious,” including failure to:
- Protect employees from falls
- Provide suitable hearing protection
- Clean combustible flour dust from floors
- Cover drain openings
- Ensure exits were unlocked and free from obstructions.
The federal agency also cited Lone Star for 16 “less-than-serious” violations involving shoddy safety record-keeping over the course of three years.
A final repeat violation—for failing to properly mount and maintain electrical equipment—was cited. OSHA had previously flagged the electrical hazard following a 2006 inspection that resulted in $78,300 in penalties. The repeat violation alone could cost Lone Star $27,500.
In all, the company faces proposed penalties of $229,400.
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