Publix Supermarkets Inc. was cited OSHA for 16 safety and health violations at its Jacksonville, Florida distribution facility after receiving a complaint that a worker's hand was amputated while cleaning conveyor equipment. Proposed penalties totalled $182,000.

One willful violation with a $70,000 penalty was cited for failing to utilize procedures for the control of potentially hazardous energy when employees service or clean equipment.

Two repeat violations with penalties of $66,000 included failing to develop, document and utilize lockout/tagout procedures and not conducting an annual inspection of the energy control procedures.

Publix Supermarkets also was cited for six serious violations with penalties of $39,400 for failing to adequately train employees in procedures for the lockout/tagout of machine energy sources, install machine guarding on equipment where employees could come into contact with rotating and ingoing nip points, protect workers from struck by hazards by not anchoring equipment to the floor, protect workers from electric shock by having damaged electrical equipment repaired, use appropriate electrical outlet boxes in wet/damp locations and use receptacles that did not have weatherproof enclosures

"Publix is well aware of the hazards the cleaning crew was exposed to, yet took no steps to safeguard employees by controlling the conveyor equipment's energy source,” said Brian Sturtecky, OSHA's area director in Jacksonville. "Exposing workers to amputation hazards is unacceptable, and corrective action must be taken immediately.”

Publix is a privately-owned company with 1,026 supermarkets, eight distribution centers and five manufacturing facilities with operations in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee. The Jacksonville distribution center employs approximately 450 workers and has a small fresh foods manufacturing process area.

Source: OSHA