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OSHA cites beer warehouse over perm, temp worker dangers

December 17, 2014

A warehouse for brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev SA was cited for willfully putting permanent and temporary workers at risk of serious injury, the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced Thursday. Penalties totaled $162,500.

An investigation in June found the company, doing business as Anheuser-Busch Sales of New Jersey, exposed workers to hazards that involved powered industrial trucks and other dangers at its Jersey City facility, according to OSHA. The OSHA investigation found two willful and eight serious violations.

OSHA investigators determined that powered industrial truck operators were not trained by Anheuser-Busch, and defective trucks were not removed from service. These willful violations have a $121,000 penalty. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirement, or with plain indifference to the law.

The Anheuser-Busch warehouse also had obstructed exit routes, damaged storage racks and additional powered industrial truck hazards, according to OSHA. The company also failed to provide both chemical hazard communication and powered industrial truck training. These violations carry a $41,500 penalty.

“At Anheuser-Busch, safety is our top priority and we take comprehensive measures to provide a safe work environment for our employees,” John Aversano, Anheuser-Busch Sales of New Jersey’s director of operations, said in a statement. “We have long-standing programs in place that include general safety training for employees, as well as job-specific training for individuals. Our high standards have earned our facility a strong safety record with no lost time due to injuries since 2011 and, since taking ownership in 2010, we have made significant investments to enhance safety measures and update equipment at the facility.” 

“We disagree with OSHA’s findings and will work with officials to address them,” Aversano said.  

Anheuser-Busch has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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