The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited manufacturer Fremont Beef Co. in Fremont, Neb., following a safety inspection at the facility, which was initiated in February in response to a report of an amputation of a finger. Citations cover one serious, one repeat and one other-than-serious violation. The serious and repeat violations are directly related to the amputation.
"It is the responsibility of every employer to provide a safe and healthful workplace for employees," said Charles E. Adkins, OSHA's regional administrator in Kansas City, Mo. "Employers must make safety priority number one and take all necessary steps to eliminate hazards from the workplace."
The serious citation is for failing to ensure that lockout/tagout devices were used by authorized employees to de-energize a machine. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The company faces $45,500 in proposed penalties and has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Omaha or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Fremont Beef told the Lincoln Journal-Star that the employee severed a fingertip and did not miss a day of work. The company plans on contacting OSHA to discuss the fine.

"Hopefully OSHA will realize our employee safety training efforts and at least modify the citation,” said President Les Leech in an e-mail. “Otherwise this will drastically affect the financial condition of our small company of 265 employees."

Sources: OSHA, Lincoln Journal-Star