Business

Safety violations at UM dining hall mean proposed fines of $134,000 for managing company

Miami Herald

An August inspection of a University of Miami dining hall resulted in $134,880 in proposed fines for three workplace safety violations.

And two of the three violations at the Mahoney Pearson Dining Hall were classified as Repeat violations because North Carolina-based Compass Group USA, which runs the dining hall through its Chartwells Dining division, got busted breaking similar rules in Illinois in 2014.

Of 20 workplace inspections nationally since 2014, according to OSHA.gov, Compass has been fined nine times. The biggest before this was $38,000 for failures at Canteen Vending Services in Bloomingdale, Illinois.

Compass Group has 15 days to pay or enter a payment plan, request an informal conference with the area OSHA director, or contest the findings to the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

A Chartwells spokesperson said in a Wednesday night e-mail to The Herald, “The health and safety of our associates and our guests is always our top priority. This is an ongoing investigation and we are currently working with OSHA on further examining the details of the report. As a standard practice, we immediately act upon and strive to remediate any potential safety hazard that is brought to our attention at any time.”

Here are the details of the violations:

Maybe you’ve wondered why restaurant kitchen doors swing. It’s because a door to an exit must swing in the direction of the exit if the room is made to hold more than 50 people or is a high hazard area (like a kitchen).

According to the Citation and Notification of Penalty, “Employees working in the kitchen area were exposed to the hazard of smoke inhalation and burns because a designated exit door that connected to an exit route did not swing out in the direction of exit travel.”

This was classified as a Serious violation with a proposed $12,934 fine.

“The employer did not provide suitable facilities for quick drenching (of the eyes and body) to employees who were required to work with hazardous corrosive chemicals, such as, but not limited to Oasis 115 XP (pH 12.25) and Oasis 255 SF (pH 12) while performing cleaning operations.”

Oasis 115 XP is described by online vender Facilpro as “an extra strength alkaline floor cleaner for daily cleaning...” Oasis 255 SF’s full name includes “Industrial Strength Glass Cleaner Concentrate.”

In 2014 at a Wood Dale, Illinois workplace, Compass Group was cited for the same violation. So, this was a Repeat violation, worth $60,973.

“The employer did not provide any effective information and training on hazardous chemicals for employees who were required to work with hazardous chemicals such as, but not limited to” the aforementioned Oasis products.

This was judged “equivalent” to an OSHA standard violated at Wood Dale in 2014, so it also got tagged as a Repeat violation, worth $60,973.

The final order on the Wood Dale inspection (seven violations, $14,520 in fines) came down in March 2015, four months before Compass Group put a press release on its website headlined, “Chartwells Higher Education Dining Services Reinvents Campus Dining for a New Generation.”

Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.


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