According to OSHA area director John Tomich, the action results from an investigation begun by OSHA on August 16, 1999, following an accident at the Agway feed mill, in which an employee was permanently paralyzed in a fall. The employee, who had been standing on a conveyor, attempting to replace a broken conveyor belt, when he fell nine feet to the concrete floor below and landed on a steel strip bolted to the floor.
OSHA alleges that the company willfully violated OSHA's fall protection standard by failing to provide a guarded work platform or other form of fall protection. The willful violation carries a proposed penalty of $70,000.
OSHA also charged the firm with two alleged repeat violations, with a total proposed penalty of $37,500, for not following required group lockout-tagout procedures when performing maintenance on the conveyor to prevent accidental startup while the equipment is being serviced. Agway was previously cited for this condition in April, 1999.
The firm also received a failure to abate notice for failing to implement preventive maintenance procedures in the facility. The alleged failure-to-abate has a proposed penalty of $30,000.
Agway was also charged with an alleged other-than-serious violation for having inadequate standard railings on work platforms.