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Tillman & Associates, Attorneys at Law

Schwan Atlanta frozen food plant and others fined by OSHA

The Atlanta facility of Schwan's Global Supply Chain Inc. of Minnesota, which employs about 14,000 people nationwide, was the subject of citations from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration that were issued to the company and two other local companies. Those companies are providers of staffing services and maintenance to the Schwan Atlanta plant where they make frozen foods, including Mrs. Smith's desserts and Red Baron pizzas.

Schwan's received fines totaling $185,700 for 32 health and safety violations. Cimco Refrigeration Inc. was fined $20,160 because the company allowed the exposure to excessive noise levels at the Schwan's facility to affect its workers. The Adecco staffing agency was cited and fined $58,500 because it allowed temporary workers to work at Schwan's.

A worker's complaint led OSHA to conduct an inspection of the Schwan facility in September 2013. According to OSHA, all three companies failed at providing sufficient safety training in regards to working with the ammonia utilized in the refrigeration process. In addition, Schwan workers suffered exposure to harmful noise levels and machines that were unguarded.

When OSHA citations are issued, it is because the company in question has been found to have been putting workers at risk. Sometimes they are permanent employees, and other times they are temp workers from an outside agency, as in this story. When a worker is injured or a family loses a loved one to a workplace injury, an attorney could help with filing a claim for workers' compensation benefits to help cover medical expenses, loss of income and final expenses. The attorney could also help a worker or the family to determine who is at fault when a temp agency or other outside entity, such as a maintenance company, is involved.

Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "OSHA fines frozen foods firm $185,700 for violations at Atlanta facility", Fran Jeffries, March 12, 2014

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