Grocery chain Safeway Inc. faces $339,000 in proposed Occupational Safety and Health Administration penalties after an accident on a molding machine at one of its Colorado manufacturing plants caused an employee to lose four fingers.
In an Aug. 11 news release, OSHA accused the company of "indifference" to worker safety on its blow molding machines at a milk packaging plant the grocer operates in Denver.
OSHA said in an Aug. 11 news release that it cited the company for two willful and five serious violations, including lockout/tagout violations, failure to control hazardous energy, inadequate machine guarding and not having enough locks for lockout and tagout procedures.
"Safeway Inc. knew its equipment lacked safeguards, yet the company chose to let work continue without regard to workers' safety," said Amanda Kupper, OSHA area director in Denver. "This indifference caused a worker to suffer a serious and permanent injury."
It said that on Feb. 12, an employee lost fingers when she was making a roll adjustment on a Uniloy Milacron blow molding machine and "the machine automatically cycled and amputated all four of her fingers on one hand."
"This condition exposed employees to caught-in-between, crushing, and amputation hazards," OSHA said.
OSHA also said the company did not contain oil leaks from molding machines and put down pieces of cardboard by the machine to try to control it, exposing workers to slip hazards.
In a statement, Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons Cos., which owns Safeway, said it could not comment on details of the complaint.
"We care deeply about the safety of our associates and are committed to compliance with OSHA and similar state and local laws," the company said. "We cannot comment on a matter that is the subject of ongoing litigation."