Safeway faces $339K in penalties after Denver milk plant amputation

Employee at plant lost four fingers

Safeway faces $339K in penalties after Denver milk plant amputation
Safeway has 15 days to comply with or contest the citation.

Supermarket chain Safeway Inc. is facing $339,379 in proposed penalties after a worker at its Denver milk packaging plant lost four fingers while operating a molding machine on February 12, 2021.

A subsequent investigation by OSHA uncovered two willful and five serious violations, as well as one other than serious violation. A number of the violations are linked to the lack of required safeguarding, including:

  • The failure to implement procedures for the “control of hazardous energy” such as failing to develop and implement lockout/tagout procedures (which would prevent the machines from operating unintentionally).
  • Inadequate machine guarding, as well as an inadequate number of locks to perform both lockout/tagout and inadequate lockout/tagout training.

In addition, OSHA found oil leaks on the floor, which exposed workers to slip and trip hazards.

“Safeway Inc. knew its equipment lacked safeguards, yet the company chose to let work continue without regard to workers’ safety. This indifference caused a worker to suffer a serious and permanent injury,” said OSHA Area Director Amanda Kupper in Denver.

Safeway now has 15 days from receipt of the citation and penalties to comply, to request an informal conference with an OSHA Area Director, or to contest the findings.

Illinois-based Topflight Grain Cooperative Inc. is facing $300K in penalties after exposing workers to serious engulfment hazards at its Pierson Station worksite.

In addition, OSHA has recently cited recycling company TAV Holdings, an employer based in Georgia, for multiple safety violations in the workplace. The company is facing a total of $112 in penalties.