Wegmans Food Markets Inc. bills itself as an industry leader and innovator. However, recurring hazards at its 1500 Brooks Ave. bakery in Rochester — and injuries to two workers — suggest a need for the supermarket chain to address workplace safety for its employees.
In March 2015, a sanitation crew member lost his fingertip when it caught in the pinch point of an operating conveyor that he was cleaning. A month later, a mechanic sustained a first degree burn on his wrist when steam released while he attempted to repair a valve.
A recent inspection by OSHA’s Buffalo Area Office identified hazardous conditions similar to those cited by the agency during a 2011 inspection. OSHA cited Wegmans on Sept. 1 for three repeated and two serious violations. Proposed fines total $188,200.
"If Wegmans had used proper safeguards, these preventable injuries would not have happened," said Michael Scime, OSHA's area director in Buffalo. "The company must take corrective action at all its locations to ensure that hazards, such as these — and the injuries that result — are eliminated."
How it happened
In the case of the amputation, OSHA found that Wegmans failed to turn off and lock out the conveyor's power source, train employees in how to do this, and ensure the conveyor's moving parts were protected against contact. In the steam burn incident, the company failed to develop a procedure to lockout the valve supplying steam to the pipe. The recurring hazards led the agency to cite Wegmans for three repeated violations, with $175,000 in proposed fines.
OSHA cited the company for inadequate hand and face protection for the employees who worked on the steam valve, with fines amounting to $13,200 for the two serious violations.
View the citations here.
Wegmans, an 86-store supermarket chain, has headquarters in Gates and stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts.
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