OSHA cites China Grove, Texas, bakery for 49 violations following finger amputation

OSHA has cited Lone Star Bakery Inc. for 32 serious, one repeat and 16 other-than-serious violations following an amputation incident and multiple inspections at two of the company’s facilities in China Grove. Violations include exposing workers to combustible dust, fall and electrical hazards, among others. Proposed penalties total $229,400.

“This company has jeopardized the health and safety of its workers,” said Jeff Funke, OSHA’s area director in San Antonio. “Employees were exposed to many hazards, including excessive accumulations of combustible flour dust that could have ignited and caused serious injuries.”

OSHA’s San Antonio Area Office initiated a safety and health inspection on Oct. 18, 2010, at the company’s facility at 8100 E. U.S. Highway 87, following a finger tip amputation incident on the pie processing line. A second safety inspection began on Dec. 15, 2010, at the company’s facility at 6905 E. U.S. Highway 87 as the result of a fire that occurred from excessive buildup of bread materials in the ovens. A second health inspection was initiated Jan. 24 at the company’s 8100 Highway 87 facility following a report that employees were being exposed to excessive levels of noise and not being protected by a hearing conservation program.

The serious violations include failing to ensure that employees were protected from falls; to clean combustible dust from workroom floors and other surfaces; to cover drain openings; to ensure that exits were free from obstructions and unlocked; and to ensure electrical deficiencies were corrected. 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 repeat violation is failing to ensure that a metal junction box was permanently mounted in accordance with the listing and labeling required by the manufacturer. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. OSHA cited Lone Star Bakery for a similar violation following a 2006 inspection that resulted in total penalties of $78,300.

Other-than-serious violations include failing to record each work-related injury or illness case that met general recording criteria, and complete an incident report form for each work-related injury or illness case that met the general recording criteria for both locations from 2007 to 2010. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

Lone Star Bakery, a private commercial bakery that employs about 500 workers at the two China Grove facilities, has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director in San Antonio or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Visit our News Library to read more news stories.