Poultry Processing Plant Slapped with Penalties for Repeat Hazards

OSHA has cited Pilgrim Pride Corp. in Russellville, Ala., for 29 safety and health violations. Penalties total $135,500.

"This company has been cited numerous times in the last five years and should be aware of the safety and health measures that need to be addressed to protect its workers," said Roberto Sanchez, OSHA area director in Birmingham.

OSHA began its inspection in March after receiving a complaint concerning ammonia odors, trip and struck-by hazards, cuts, and stabbing injuries. The investigation was expanded to all areas of the facility when inspectors observed a high number of safety hazards.

The company is being cited with two repeat safety violations with $35,000 in proposed penalties for failing to use lockout/tagout procedures and not labeling containers with the appropriate hazard warning.

The employer is also being cited with 24 serious safety and health violations with $97,500 in proposed penalties. The hazards are associated with falls; unmarked fire exits; unsecured chlorine cylinders; unsafe batteries that exposed workers to acid burns and electrical shock; lack of machine guarding; lack of hand protection and electrical deficiencies.

Three other-than-serious citations with a $3,000 proposed penalty are being issued to the company for improper completion of the OSHA 300 logs.

Pilgrim’s Pride is one of the largest chicken companies in the U.S. and Mexico, according to the company’s website. The company operates 29 chicken processing plants and nine prepared-food plants in addition to multiple distribution facilities.

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

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