Enforcement and Inspection, Equipment and Machinery Safety

Safeway Cited for Lockout/Tagout, Machine Guarding Violations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on August 10 cited Safeway Inc. with violations of the agency’s lockout/tagout, machine guarding, and other standards at the company’s dairy facility. OSHA proposed penalties totaling $339,379.

The agency inspected a Denver milk packaging plant operated by Safeway after a worker lost four fingers while operating a molding machine that lacked required safeguards.

“Safeway Inc. knew its equipment lacked safeguards, yet the company chose to let work continue without regard to workers’ safety,” OSHA’s Denver Area Director Amanda Kupper said in an agency statement. “This indifference caused a worker to suffer a serious and permanent injury.”

Safeway, a subsidiary of Albertsons Companies, operates stores in 35 states and the District of Columbia, according to OSHA.

OSHA cited Safeway with serious violations of the lockout/tagout standard, finding that the company did not:

  • Develop, document, and utilize procedures for the control of potentially hazardous energy.
  • Provide locks, tags, chains, wedges, key blocks, adapter pins, self-locking fasteners, or other hardware for isolating, securing, or blocking machines or equipment.
  • Conduct at least annual inspections of energy control (lockout/tagout) procedures to ensure the procedures and the requirements of the standard were followed at the facility.
  • Provide adequate training to ensure employees had the knowledge and skills necessary for the safe application, use, and removal of energy control (lockout) devices for several machines at the Denver facility.

The agency cited Safeway for a willful, serious violation of the lockout/tagout standard for failing to develop, document, and utilize step-by-step procedures for the control of potentially hazardous energy when maintenance employees worked on two molding machines in the facility. OSHA also cited Safeway with a willful, serious violation of the machine guarding standard for unguarded machinery that exposed employees to amputation, caught-in/-between, and crushing hazards.

OSHA cited Safeway with a serious violation of the walking-working surfaces standard for hydraulic oil leaks that created potential slip and fall hazards. Agency inspectors found that spill containment pads were not replaced when they became fully saturated and that loose pieces of cardboard had been placed on the floor along the base of the molding machines.

The agency also cited the employer with an other-than-serious violation of the compressed gas standard for an unsecured nitrogen cylinder. Inspectors found that a nitrogen cylinder located in the middle of a room behind the molding machines was upright and not secured.

Safeway has 15 business days from receipt of the citation and penalties to comply with the agency’s penalties and abatement orders, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the agency’s findings before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

The lockout/tagout and machine guarding standards are among OSHA’s most frequently cited standards. In fiscal year 2020, which ended September 30, 2020, the agency cited the lockout/tagout standard (29 CFR §1910.147) 2,065 times and the machine guarding standard (§1910.212) 1,313 times. OSHA also has an ongoing national emphasis program (NEP) on amputations in manufacturing that includes inspections for and enforcement of the lockout/tagout and machine guarding standards.