Officials cite Delaware ice company after worker injured
SEAFORD, Del. (AP) — A Delaware ice company was cited for multiple worker safety violations after an employee was injured at its facility in Seaford, resulting in the amputation of both his legs, federal officials said Monday.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration said in a written statement that Seaford Ice Inc. was cited Nov. 18 for a series of violations. Proposed penalties total $77,000. The company says on its website that it supplies packaged ice products to supermarkets, the food industry, hotel restaurants and casinos.
OSHA said it launched an investigation after a worker fell into a conveyer opening at the plant on May 28. The agency said this wasn’t the first time an injury at the plant resulted in an amputation.
In 2012, OSHA said, an employee had a foot amputated after it touched a conveyor. OSHA determined in part that the conveyor openings were too large.
“Seaford Ice disregarded employee safety by not ensuring a proper guard on the conveyor belt, leading to a preventable amputation. This is unacceptable considering the company knew after the 2012 incident that the machine lacked safeguards to protect workers. Despite this warning, Seaford chose to expose workers to hazards, and a second employee was needlessly injured,” said Erin G. Patterson, OSHA’s area director in Wilmington, in a statement. “When employers fail to provide a safe and healthful workplace, they will be held accountable.”
Seaford Ice Inc. spokesman Frank Dye declined to comment Monday when reached by telephone.
OSHA says the company was cited for one willful, five serious and three other-than-serious violations as a result of the May incident. OSHA says the violations included machines without proper safety guards, electrical hazards, and the absence of a program to prevent the accidental startup or movement of machinery.