Freezer Maker Faces More Safety Fines

Tuesday, January 27, 2015 @ 04:01 PM gHale

Employees at Arctic Industries Inc. faced the dangers of electrocution, amputation and serious illness at the Miami, FL-based freezer manufacturer and that is why the company is facing $64,680 in fines for 16 safety and health violations, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Arctic manufactures walk-in coolers and freezers for commercial and residential applications.

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As part of its continued oversight of the company and its history of safety failures, OSHA returned in July 2014 and found the violations. Violations found in 2013 and again during two visits in 2014 led OSHA to include the company, which does business as Arctic Walk-in Coolers & Freezers, in its Site-Specific Targeting Program, which concentrates on companies with above average injury and illness rates.

“Management at Arctic Walk-in is lucky no one was hurt or sickened by its failure to take safety seriously. They should have created a safety program to protect workers from workplace hazards like machines with missing safety guards and unsafe chemical usage,” said Juan Torres, acting director of OSHA’s Fort Lauderdale Area Office. “OSHA holds employers accountable for correcting conditions that threaten worker safety and health.”

OSHA issued a repeated citation for Arctic not ensuring proper installation of guards to protect users from operating machine parts. The agency cited Arctic in June 2014 for similar violations at this facility.

Inspectors discovered 14 serious violations, including not labeling containers of hazardous chemicals; exposing employees to dangerous operating machines without protection; allowing improper wiring, ground electrical circuits and other equipment; and not removing a defective or damaged powered industrial truck from service. The employer also gave no gloves, face shields or other protective gear to workers handling chemicals containing isocyanates, which are powerful irritants to the eyes, skin and lungs. There was another violation for not posting load limits for supply and material storage areas.

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.

OSHA inspected Arctic in 2013 and found eight violations related to unsafe machinery and electrical hazards. OSHA created a National Emphasis Program concerning hazardous machinery and dangerous chemicals.

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