Milk Specialties Global has agreed to pay fines totaling $535,000 after safety violations were found at its Whitehall, Wisconsin facility, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has said.
The plant produces whey protein ingredients for the weight management and sports nutrition sector of the food and beverage industry, as well as animal nutrition products.
OSHA said it found “willful, repeat and serious violations” at the facility, including combustible dust hazards, untrained employees working in potentially dangerous areas and a lack of proper permits for working in confined spaces.
Assistant secretary of labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels said: “We are pleased that Milk Specialties Co. has recognized and agreed to abate the health and safety violations addressed in the settlement. Our number one concern is to ensure the safety and welfare of all workers. With this agreement, I am confident the company is moving in the right direction."
The company has issued a statement confirming that it has agreed to pay the penalties, but added that payment does not represent an admission of the citations.
“The citations related to the start up of a plant the company had recently acquired at the time of the inspection,” it said.
“…We share OSHA’s concern for the safety and welfare of all of our workers. The company has always put the safety, health and welfare of its employees at the forefront of its activities and will continue to do so in all future operations.”
OSHA began an inspection of the plant in December 2008 after receiving a complaint about safety issues, the administration said. It noted untrained employees entering confined spaces and carrying out cleaning and maintenance work on powered equipment, without protection from various hazards.
Eight people were employed at the plant at the time of the inspection, according to the company.