Supermarket Equipment Sales facility in Rutledge

Supermarket Equipment Sales facility in Rutledge

By Stephanie Johns

Staff Writer

Rutledge-based Supermarket Equipment Sales (SES) received a citation from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as well as proposed penalties totaling $62,300.

As noted in an OSHA press release, the company received the citation “for 17 safety and health violations following a February complaint about the company’s facility.”

The document shares that 15 of the violations were “serious” while two were “other-than-serious.”

“A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known” while “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.”

The two other-than-serious violations did not incur monetary penalties, according to the release.

Violations ranged from exposing employees to fire, explosion and fall hazards to not ensuring fire extinguishers were charged and ready for use.

Bill Fulcher, the Atlanta-East Area Office Director for OSHA, was quoted as saying, “A wide range of safety and health hazards were identified that need to be eliminated from the workplace.”

He went on to note, “Employers cannot wait for an OSHA inspection to identify hazards that are exposing their employees to serious injuries. Implementing preventative programs and systems that ensure such hazards are identified and corrected as part of day-to-day operations is critical.”

During a phone interview Monday, July 8, SES business owner Kirby Murdoch said, “A number of violations down here are already addressed.”

He said the fine noted in the press release is the maximum amount the company would have to pay but most likely they will be able to have the amount adjusted.

“It’ll be a much, much less amount,” he said. “That’s the expectation.”

Murdoch also shared a written statement with the Citizen on Tuesday, July 9.

He wrote, “We take the matter of our employees’ safety and health seriously. It is apparent that we have issues demanding immediate attention. Supermarket Equipment Sales continues to maintain OSHA compliance, fully correct deficits identified in their inspection and rigorously pursue the appeals process.”

Violations Included

Exposing employees to fire, explosion and fall hazards

Failing to provide machine guarding

Failing to inspect powered industrial trucks for deficiencies before putting them into service

Failing to ensure two-ton hooks were not overloaded beyond their rated capacity