Springfield Dole plant alleged safety violations: 3 things to know

Updated Feb 07, 2018
  • By Keisha Rowe
  • Staff Writer

Dole’s Springfield plant was cited for alleged safety violations last fall after an employee was exposed to an amputation hazard, according to OSHA documents obtained by the Springfield News-Sun. Here is what we know now about the ongoing case.

» READ MORE: OSHA: Dole workers exposed to ‘amputation hazard’ at Springfield plant

1. Two violations, one listed as ‘serious’

The inspection documents that were obtained by the Springfield News-Sun through a Freedom of Information Act request show two alleged violations.

A citation for what was labeled as a serious violation for the alleged “control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout)” was filed in early October and the company was issued a proposed penalty for $12,675.

Another citation labeled a repeat violation for alleged “mechanical power-transmission apparatus” was filed by OSHA the same day with a $69,713 proposed penalty, for a total of $82,388 in proposed penalties, according to OSHA documents.

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2. ‘Amputation hazard’ found

On Aug. 18, 2017, a maintenance employee at the Springfield facility allegedly was “exposed to an amputation hazard while inspecting a pulley and belt on a Heinzen Centrifuge Dryer when he moved his hand up underneath where a pulley and belt were located and about this time the dryer machine started operating,” according to the citation documents obtained by the News-Sun.

The second citation, labeled as “Repeat,” says “On Aug. 18, 2017, in the Dryer Room, a maintenance employee was exposed to an amputation hazard when reaching underneath an inadequately guarded pulley and belt located on (Centrifuge) Dryer Deck No. 5, Dryer No. 8 motor, approximately 18 inches off the ground.”

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3. Allegations contested by Dole

Dole contests “all aspects and elements of each and every citation and item(s) of the following citations issued on October 6, 2017, including, but not limited to, alleged inspection/violation dates, scope of inspection, applicability, recognized hazard, extend of alleged hazard, presence of violation, statements of conditions and violations, validity of alleged evidence of violations, classification, penalty, abatement, feasibility, necessity and abatement date,” a letter from its lawyers says. Dole officials declined to comment and their lawyers didn’t respond to requests for comment.