Rice Cake Maker Faces Safety Fines

Tuesday, December 30, 2014 @ 11:12 AM gHale

In response to a complaint of an electrical shock injury from a 20-year employee at a Coldwater, OH, rice cake manufacturer, Basic Grain Products Inc. is now facing a $58,410 fine for two repeat and five serious safety violations, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

An OSHA inspection found the employee suffered the injury while he performed service work on an electrical panel at a rice cake manufacturer.

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The employee missed two days of work due to the electrical shock injury which occurred Aug. 18. OSHA also found another employee missed 20 workdays and was on restricted duty for an additional 22 days after part of his ring finger ended up amputated June 19as he adjusted a machine used to make rice cakes.

Based in Coldwater with 130 employees, Basic Grain Products is one of the largest private-label manufacturers and suppliers of rice cakes and other healthy snacks to supermarkets nationwide.

“Basic Grain Products must ensure that its workers are not exposed to dangerous machinery and are never expected to conduct maintenance without shutting down electrical and energy sources,” said Kim Nelson, OSHA’s area director in Toledo. “Those actions can prevent severe injuries like those suffered by these workers.”

OSHA’s investigation determined the employee who suffered the amputation injury while servicing the rice cake machine ended up exposed to the operating parts of the machinery because it did not end up powered down properly before maintenance.

The investigation also found Basic Grain Products failed to implement electrical safety-related work practices, which included no use of personal protective equipment; untrained workers; and inadequate clearance in front of electrical panels. These violations resulted in five serious safety citations. 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 also cited the company for exposing workers to unguarded rice cake machines that did not end up powered down properly to prevent them from starting up during maintenance. These violations exposed workers to amputation and laceration hazards. The company received similar violations in 2013. OSHA issues repeated citations when a company previously received citations for the same or a similar violation at any facility within federal enforcement states in the past five years.

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