Home > Industrial, Legal > LA: Seafood company hit with $248,000 in fines and back/lost wages

LA: Seafood company hit with $248,000 in fines and back/lost wages

Breaux Bridge, LA: The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) on July 24 issued findings from investigations of C.J.’s Seafood Inc. in Breaux Bridge, La. OSHA cited C.J.’s Seafood, a former Wal-Mart supplier, with 11 serious and one other-than-serious safety violation for exposing workers to blocked exit, fire, electrical and chemical hazards. Additionally, the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division found that the company failed to pay minimum wage and overtime compensation to 73 workers as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act, and to comply with provisions of the H-2B temporary foreign worker visa program established under the Immigration and Nationality Act.   OSHA proposes more than $34,000 in fines for C.J.’s Seafood of Breaux Bridge, La., for exposing workers to workplace hazards. The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division is seeking nearly $214,000 in back wages and penalties.

“It is imperative that employers comply with applicable laws that protect the health and safety of their workers,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. “Every worker deserves to go home safe at the end of a workday, and the employees at C.J.’s Seafood are entitled to nothing less.”

OSHA’s Baton Rouge Area Office conducted an investigation of the company’s facility in Breaux Bridge, where employees peel and boil seafood. Some of the serious violations cited pertain to the building not being equipped with fire extinguishers, exit signs or emergency eyewash stations. In addition, electrical breakers were not labeled, electrical outlets were not covered, an exit was blocked and temporary wiring was being used instead of permanent wiring. Finally, the employer did not have a written hazard communications program and did not make material safety data sheets available to employees to inform them of hazards in the workplace. These citations carry proposed penalties of $32,200. A serious violation is one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

The other-than-serious violation involves failing to maintain the OSHA 300 log, in which employee injuries and illnesses must be recorded. This citation carries a monetary penalty of $2,100. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

C.J.’s Seafood has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s Baton Rouge area director or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Story via ehstoday.com

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