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PEPPERIDGE FARM WINS LANDMARK OSHA CASE

 NORWALK, Conn., March 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Pepperidge Farm, Inc., today praised the verdict in a landmark case involving repetitive-motion injuries.
 The case involved 1988 charges by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that Pepperidge Farm "willfully" exposed its workers at a cookie plant in Downingtown, Pa., to repetitive motion injuries. In a decision handed down today, Administrative Law Judge David Oringer ruled that OSHA's allegations on repetitive motion injuries were baseless. Recognizing that there is significant disagreement among the medical community on the cause of repetitive motion injuries, the judge totally dismissed all 175 of the repetitive motion citations previously issued by OSHA.
 "Pepperidge Farm has been an industry leader in protecting its workers from repetitive motion injuries, and we will continue to be so," said Richard A. Shea, Pepperidge Farm's President.
 "Long before OSHA's interest in ergonomics, Pepperidge Farm had been using such tools as ergonomic audits, medical management programs, employee and supervisor training, job rotation and rest pauses. Where technology did not exist, we went out and created it, at the cost of millions of dollars. For example, we pioneered many robotic innovations that do not exist anywhere else in the cookie-baking industry worldwide."
 In a separate part of his decision, Judge Oringer dismissed or reduced many of OSHA's charges with respect to record-keeping and lifting.
 "From the outset, we never denied that our records had room for improvement, but there was no basis for OSHA's attempt to transform these admitted technical record-keeping violations into a major case on repetitive motion. Innovations developed since 1988 have eliminated many of the lifting tasks that were cited by OSHA," Shea said.
 Shea added: "At the outset of this long and unnecessary case, we said repeatedly that we acted responsibly and that OSHA's charges on repetitive motion were baseless. Today, from the bench, Judge Oringer agreed."
 Overall, the judge slashed OSHA's asserted fines by almost $1 million dollars, from $1,384,000 to $394,000.
 Shea noted that Pepperidge Farm won a similar case in December 1991, at its Downers Grove, Ill. plant after OSHA, in an unprecedented action, dropped all charges.
 /delval/
 -0- 3/26/93
 /CONTACT: Ann Davin of Pepperide Farms, 203-846-7279/
 (CPB)


CO: Pepperidge Farm, Inc.; U.S. Occupational Safety and Health
 Administration ST: Pennsylvania, Connecticut IN: FOD SU:


LJ -- PH027 -- 0154 03/26/93 16:25 EST
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Date:Mar 26, 1993
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