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Judge orders pet food company to let OSHA in

pet foodA pet food company that prevented OSHA from inspecting its facility has been ordered by a U.S. District Court judge to allow inspections or pay hefty fines.

After finding All-Feed Processing & Packaging in contempt for failing to allow OSHA to inspect its pet food research and packaging facility in Galva, Illinois, Judge John Gorman imposed a daily fine of $500 that began on May 4. The fines against the company will be purged once OSHA is allowed to conduct full-shift monitoring of employees' exposure to dust and noise under normal plant operating conditions without interference. The company will still be responsible for paying court costs and attorney fees.

OSHA Regional Administrator Michael Connors said agency sought court intervention because of the company’s s continuous failure to allow inspections and its history of severe violations.

Following a January inspection, OSHA's Peoria Area Office cited the company for four willful and one serious health violation for repeatedly failing to provide respirators and monitor workers' exposure to dust at the Galva facility. Those violations qualified the company for placement in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which is intended to focus enforcement resources on employers with a history of safety violations that endanger workers by demonstrating indifference to their responsibilities under the law. This tool includes mandatory OSHA follow-up inspections and inspections of other work sites of the same employer where similar hazards and deficiencies may be present.

All Feed Processing & Packaging has been inspected by OSHA 10 times since 2000, resulting in a significant enforcement action on five occasions. Those citations encompassed a total of 43 serious, 19 willful, five repeat and 10 other-than-serious violations, many of which related to failing to monitor and limit employees' exposure to hazardous dust.

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