Schwan’s hit with 32 serious safety violations
Workers exposed ammonia, damaging noise, unguarded machines
An OSHA inspection at Schwan's Global Supply Chain Inc. resulted in dozens of citations against the frozen food manufacturer, along with Cimco Refrigeration Inc. and Adecco USA Inc., the companies who provide it with maintenance services and temporary employees.
The Minnesota company, which sells foods under several brand names including Red Baron pizza and Mrs. Smith's desserts, failed to provide adequate training for employees to work safely with ammonia, a hazardous and corrosive chemical used in refrigeration. Citations also included exposing workers to unguarded machines and damaging noise levels, and for failure to provide properly fitted personal protective equipment. OSHA initiated the inspection at Schwan's facility in September 2013, following a worker complaint. OSHA's 32 citations carry only $185,700 in penalties for Schwan's.
The inspection found that Schwan's exposed workers to dangerous conditions, many created by the company's failure to follow the OSHA Process Safety Management Standard to protect workers from dangerous exposure to ammonia used in the refrigeration system. The employer was cited for failing to ensure that doors to the ammonia handling machinery fit properly, created a chemical hazard and failed to provide training on safe work practices applicable to the ammonia refrigeration systems used at the facility. Schwan's was also cited for blocked and mismarked exits in hazardous areas, failure to train workers on controlling hazardous energy through standard lockout/tagout procedures during maintenance and services, and exposing workers to electrical hazards.
Schwan’s employs approximately 14,000 employees nationwide. About 494 employees work at the Atlanta facility, which produces dough, cookies and pie crusts.
Temp workers exposed
OSHA inspectors found that temporary workers in Schwan's facility, employed by the Adecco staffing agency, were exposed to noise and unguarded machines and platforms, which created a fall hazard. As a result, OSHA cited Adecco for 12 serious safety and health violations, carrying penalties of $58,500. With headquarters in Melville, N.Y., Adecco employs more than 300,000 workers nationwide. Adecco maintains an office at the Schwan's facility and provides labor and management of the on-site workforce.
In April 2013, OSHA announced an initiative to improve workplace safety and health for temporary workers. During the inspection, OSHA inspectors paid special attention to the hazards facing temporary workers to determine the role of the host employer and the staffing agency in failing to eliminate serious hazards.
Maintenance workers exposed
Cimco provided service and maintenance for the ammonia refrigeration system at Schwan's Atlanta facility. It was cited for six serious safety and health violations, carrying penalties of $20,160. The violations were cited for exposing contract workers to excessive noise levels by failing to implement a noise monitoring program. Cimco also failed to provide necessary training, properly fitted respirators and clearly marked exits.
To view the current citations, visit