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PacMoore plant in Hammond fined $19,250 for 'serious' safety violations

A PacMoore employee prepares to pick up a load with a forklift at the PacMoore facility in Hammond. The Indiana Department of Labor is fining the company for safety violations.

The state is fining PacMoore, a Hammond-based contract food ingredient manufacturing company, $19,250 for serious safety violations.

The company employs several hundred workers at its plant at 1844 Summer St. in Hammond, where it does dry-blending, spray drying, repacking and consumer packaging for customers that include some major brand names in the food industry.

After doing inspections from October through March, the Indiana Department of Labor's Occupational Health and Safety Administration fined PacMoore $5,000 for exposing workers to electrical hazards while testing wiring while doing maintenance. The state agency ordered PacMoore to take corrective action, such as by establishing arc flash boundaries and requiring workers to wear personal protective equipment within the boundary.

"The employer did not establish and maintain conditions of work which were reasonably safe and healthful for employees, and free from recognized hazards that were causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees in that employees were exposed to electrical hazards," the Indiana Department of Labor said in its safety order.

OHSA also fined PacMoore $5,000 for exposing workers to fire/explosion/deflation hazards by not doing a combustible dust hazard analysis with its equipment. The state ordered the company to do a systematic review to identify potential fire and explosion hazards in keeping with National Fire Protection Association standards.

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The company was fined another $5,000 for exposing an employee to a fall while lowering a gate at the edge of a platform and another $2,125 for exposing workers to fall hazards while working on the roof near unprotected skylights. OHSA said the company needs to put in guardrails, covers or other protective measures.

Finally, the state fined the company $2,125 for exposing workers to respiratory hazards by assigning them to wear filtering face mask respirators without doing any fit tests. 

PacMoore can contest the state's safety orders and has 15 days to pay the fines if it does not.

Chris Bekermeier, vice president of marketing and legal affairs for PacMoore, said the company was fully cooperating with the state.

"We are fully cooperating with OHSA on this matter," he said. "We're having discussions and cooperating with their team. At this point it's pending, and I'm not at liberty to say much. You know the values of this organization, and they include personal safety."

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.