Business

Miami-Dade ‘premium’ pet food maker stunned by proposed $95,000 in OSHA fines

A pet ring-necked conure.
A pet ring-necked conure. ttompkins@bradenton.com

A North Miami-Dade maker of natural pet foods for birds and small animals faces $95,472 in fines after after being cited by OSHA inspectors for 17 violations.

And The Higgins Group, which runs Higgins Premium Pet Foods, sounded stunned.

“They showed up with four inspectors for the first inspection,” Higgins general manager Andres Perea told the Herald by phone. “Then they came back four more times. We’ve never had a death, never had an amputation. In the last five years, we’ve had five injuries. The worst was a sprained knee.”

A check of online records says before the inspections last fall, OSHA hadn’t inspected Higgins in 10 years. OSHA workplace inspections don’t happen with the required regularity of, say, restaurants or supermarkets. They usually come about from an incident, complaint, history of the company or industry.

With Higgins, two inspections stemmed from worker complaints and one came from a referral of another agency.

These inspections got Higgins cited for, according to the Department of Labor release, “crushed-by hazards from damaged or overloaded storage racks; lack of machine guarding on gears, sprockets, and chains; failing to develop and implement a hazardous energy control program; exposing employees to falls from an uncovered floor hole; and failing to ensure employees wore protective gloves when handling corrosive cleaners.”

As a first time offender, it’s likely OSHA will settle the fines for less than the whole $95,472.

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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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