CINCINNATI -- (FNS) Kroger Co. here said it is beefing up its worker safety and training efforts after numerous violations were uncovered at its Springdale, Ohio, manufacturing facility during an investigation earlier this year by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
OSHA said it identified more than 75 safety and health hazards while investigating Kroger's ice cream and beverage manufacturing facility in Springdale between January and May.
As a result of the investigation, Kroger agreed to pay a fine of $247,000 and to file reports about the status of safety improvements, Gary Rhodes, a chain spokesman, told SN.
He also said all supervisors at the Springdale plant will be required to attend a 30-hour safety training course sponsored by OSHA.
In addition, Rhodes said, Kroger has installed a 6-foot fall protector for all contractor employees working at Kroger facilities nationwide.
According to Rhodes, Kroger had been in the process of implementing a "comprehensive safety program at all manufacturing plants" since 1998 as part of its "continuing effort to improve worker safety throughout all facilities."
He said the safety program includes extensive employee training, auditing and behavior observation -- a process in which employees watch each other perform routine tasks to make sure safety guidelines are followed. Independent consultants helped Kroger design and implement the plan, Rhodes said.
"It's worth noting that we have been addressing these safety issues for several years, and we're beginning to see some positive results," Rhodes said.
William Murphy, area director for the OSHA office here, said the violations at the Springdale facilities included poor electrical safety, inadequate safety guards on machinery, unguarded platforms above dangerous equipment and inadequate training for forklift operators.