TAMUNING, GUAM ‒ Federal safety inspectors found Pepsi Guam Bottling jeopardized the safety of their employees by disabling safety devices to allow workers to reach into a bottle-labeling machine as often as 15 times an hour to grab and fix labels and adjust tipping bottles to avoid slowing or stopping production.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined Pepsi Guam Bottling exposed employees to amputation and other serious injuries by leaving the machine’s guard doors open and permitting a safety proximity switch to be deactivated. The agency found the company failed to protect workers from operating machine parts.

OSHA proposed penalties of $180,807 for one willful violation, one repeat violation and six serious violations of machine safety procedures, as well as failures to comply with electrical safe work practices and respiratory protection standards. OSHA opened the inspection in October 2022 under its regional emphasis programs for amputations and warehousing operations.

“By exposing workers to the risk of severe injury, Pepsi Guam Bottling showed a willingness to put profit before the safety of its employees,” explained OSHA Regional Administrator James Wulff in San Francisco. “Industrial machinery is unforgiving and can cause sudden, severe and disabling injuries or worse when machine guards are bypassed.”

Specifically, OSHA found Pepsi Guam Bottling failed to:  

Protect employees from rotating parts, in-going nip point and burn hazards during operation of the bottle-labeling machine at production speed.
Develop specific procedures for the placement of lockout/tagout devices to prevent machines from operating during service and maintenance.
Place a chuck guard on a drill press to protect workers from rotating parts.
Enclose sprocket wheels and chains on a packer machine.
Protect employees from respiratory hazards by fit testing those required to wear a respirator.
Remove a damaged racking system on which pallets of bottled water were stored, which exposed workers to struck-by and crush-by hazards.
Protect workers from electrical hazards from unused openings in live electrical boxes and missing covers on junction boxes.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Learn more about OSHA.

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