Imperial Sugar CEO disputes OSHA fines

Imperial Sugar CEO John Sheptor.
Imperial Sugar CEO John Sheptor.

By Brooke Kelley - bio | email

PORT WENTWORTH, GA (WTOC) - Imperial Sugar is defending its safety record as its CEO prepares to present a statement to a senate subcommittee hearing just days after OSHA hit the company with nearly $9 million in fines.

CEO John Sheptor says he does not believe the facts support OSHA's findings and says they failed to mention all the safety precautions the company did take prior to February 7.

Facing near record fines from OSHA, Sheptor is defending his company and its safety plans.

"We do not believe that we did anything willful or neglect that they have cited us for, and we will contest," said Sheptor. "I believe at the expense of Imperial Sugar they have attempted to discredit this remarkable institution that has so many professionals come in the last 90 years. I think it's uncalled for to bring this forward at this time."

Vice president Graham H. Graham of Imperial Sugar will testify in front of the senate tomorrow.

He plans to discuss dangerous conditions he witnessed months before the explosion, but the company plans to dispute his testimony.

Sheptor will have a prepared statement that will be read at the senate committee, but says he would rather be focusing on his employees and not politics.

"We have stood by our entire employees throughout this tragedy and we are support of these families and I apologize that they have been brought into the politics of Washington and our investigation," said Sheptor.

Sheptor says in the next two weeks, he along with Imperial Sugar board members will go through the citations one by one with OSHA investigators.

It could be ultimately up to a judge to make the decision.