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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

OSHA News Release: [06/11/2014]
Contact Name: Scott Allen or Rhonda Burke
Phone Number: (312) 353-6976
Email:
Allen.Scott@dol.gov or Burke.Rhonda@dol.gov
Release Number: 14-0947-KAN

Bioiberica Nebraska cited by US Department of Labor's OSHA for exposing workers to amputation, other serious hazards at food supplement plant

Company fined $101,200 and placed in Severe Violator Enforcement Program

GENEVA, Neb. — Bioiberica Nebraska has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 10 — including three willful — safety and health violations for failing to protect workers from moving machine parts during service and maintenance. OSHA proposed penalties of $101,200 and placed the company in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

"OSHA's investigation found multiple violations that exposed workers to serious amputation risks. Workers servicing or maintaining machines or equipment may be seriously injured or killed if basic protections on machines are not provided," said Bonita Winingham, OSHA's area director in Omaha. "Manufacturers, such as Bioiberica Nebraska, must recognize the hazards their employees face and take precautions to keep them safe on the job."

The three willful violations were cited for exposing workers to injuries, such as electrocution, burns, crushing, lacerating, amputating or fracturing body parts. These violations included failure to develop written procedures, provide training, and implement a program with locks, tags or other hardware to prevent machines from starting up while employees performed service and maintenance of machinery. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirement, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health.

OSHA cited Bioiberica Nebraska with seven serious violations for failing to provide workers training to recognize, evaluate and control exposure to hazardous chemicals. The facility uses several hazardous chemicals in its manufacturing process, including diatomaceous earth, which contains up to 44 percent crystalline silica. Silica exposure can cause silicosis, an irreversible lung disease, and other health hazards.

Other serious violations involve failing to develop and implement a written respiratory protection program and to train workers on wearing respiratory protection prior to use, lack of fall protection and violations of forklift standards, including use of seat belts and operator training and evaluation.

An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.

To view the current citations, visit
http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/BioibericaNEInc_951460_06_06_14.pdf

Bioiberica Nebraska is a subsidiary of Bioiberica S.A. based in Barcelona, Spain. The company, which produces products for the pharmaceutical, food supplement and functional foods industries, employs 322 workers worldwide and 11 at the Geneva site. This was the first OSHA inspection at the plant.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Omaha Area Office at 402-553-0171.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.