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OSHA fines Camden chocolate processing plant following worker fatality (1/12)

January 12, 2010
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OSHA has cited Lyons & Sons Inc. with seven serious citations and Cocoa Services LP with five serious citations for workplace safety and health violations following the death of a worker, according to an agency press statement.

"It is absolutely imperative that these companies rectify these violations to prevent other workplace tragedies from occurring, "said Paula Dixon-Roderick, director of OSHA's area office in Marlton, N.J. "One means of helping ensure worker safety is for employers to establish an effective safety and health management system through which they and their employees work together to proactively evaluate, identify and eliminate hazards before they result in injury or illness."

OSHA began its investigation in July following the death of a worker who fell into a tank converting hard chocolate to liquid chocolate. The serious violations for both companies include a lack of railing on floor openings or working platforms above the melting tanks, employees working on melting platform exposed to nine-foot falls, employer failing to post warning signs on the melting tanks to indicate confined space and the employer failing to provide fire extinguisher training upon initial employment and annually thereafter.

Additional violations for Lyons & Sons include failing to provide enclosures or guards over energized wires on melting tank boilers and failing to provide a first aid program.

OSHA issues a serious citation when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.

Lyons & Sons provide warehouse space to various customers at its Camden location and employs about 45 workers, and Moorestown, N.J.-based Cocoa Services LP coverts hard chocolate to liquid chocolate and employs seven workers.

Lyons & Sons was assessed a penalty of $21,750 and Cocoa Services LP was assessed a penalty of $17,450.

The companies have 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The investigation was conducted by OSHA's Marlton Area Office; telephone: 856-396-2594.

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