Poultry Additive Plant Charged with Amputation Hazards, Formaldehyde Issues

OSHA is proposing $69,500 in penalties against Chris Brigham, doing business as Brigham Farms, for safety violations at its Ball Ground, Ga., poultry additive facility. The site is being cited with two alleged violations for failure-to-abate with a proposed penalty of $20,700. These violations stem from a previous inspection in August 2008 that revealed workers exposed to propionic acid and formaldehyde were not provided an eye wash and shower area, and the employer has not implemented a hazard communication plan when using chemicals such as propionic acid and formaldehyde.

The citations also include 11 alleged repeat violations with a proposed penalty of $26,400, including failure to conduct an initial process hazard analysis for production of a substance containing formaldehyde. Additionally, the employer did not have a training program for using formaldehyde, failed to develop a respiratory protection program or provide chemical protective clothing and equipment, failed to have an action plan and emergency procedures, blocked exit routes, did not have a change room, and exposed employees to chemicals without a medical surveillance program.

Also, there are 13 alleged serious violations with a proposed penalty of $21,200, one of which resulted in an employee suffering an amputation on an unguarded sealing machine. Other violations include: unguarded floor hole, no stair or guardrails, broken stairs, missing rung and side rail on a ladder, exposure to amputation hazards, no written safety compilation for formaldehyde, no initial training on safety and health hazards, exposure to electrical shock from electrical panels, no written procedures for formaldehyde process equipment, engineering controls not implemented for overexposure to dust, and exposing employees to dust two-and-a-half to 20 times the permissible exposure limit.

The company has received two alleged other-than-serious violations and a $1,200 penalty for failing to post citations issued after a previous inspection. OSHA requires that employees must be aware of the hazards to which they may be exposed.

"Brigham Farms knows what needs to be fixed and should not wait any longer to make the necessary changes to its safety and health program," said Gei-Thae Breezley, director of OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office, which conducted the inspection.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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