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Ohio plastics plant cited for safety violations

Berry Plastics is a company that has manufacturing facilities in more than 80 cities. One of these facilities is in Monroeville, Ohio, and is at the center of a recent report from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration indicating that the plastics manufacturer violated several safety regulations. Some of these violations are listed as serious, which means that the issues could have caused serious injury or death. Had they caused the latter, it is likely that a wrongful death suit would have been filed.

According to OSHA, the Berry Plastics facility makes plastic containers for several markets. A complaint was filed with OSHA some time before the investigation occurred in February 2012. During that investigation, regulators found four serious violations and two repeat violations. This is not the first inspection that Berry has been subjected to: In the past four years, there have been 18 violations discovered in a dozen inspections.

The four serious violations include failing to provide personal protective equipment for electrical safety, failing to properly use fall-protection equipment, failing to use fixed stairs for access to elevated equipment and failing to guard rotating parts on machines. The two repeat violations concern the protection of employees from accidental machine startups. The company was cited for failing to develop and use procedures regarding this topic and failing to conduct inspections of the nonexistent procedures.

OSHA has proposed that Berry be fined $86,000 for these violations. In addition, the plastics manufacturer has been placed on the Severe Violator Enforcement Program. OSHA will be performing follow-up inspections at any Berry Plastics facility at any time, hoping to make the company work toward addressing its safety violations.

Anyone injured on the job may have a lawsuit case, especially after an OSHA inspection has discovered safety violations. Be sure to ask an attorney and explain your situation to get a clearer picture of how a lawsuit might go.

Source: Courier & Press, "OSHA proposing fine, special scrutiny for Berry Plastics," Susan Orr, March 14, 2013

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