OSHA Cites Poultry Processor After Grisly Fatality

A worker died when he slipped and fell into an unguarded screw conveyor while cleaning it last September in the plant in Moselle, Miss. Now, OSHA has assessed 37 serious violations against Southern Hens Inc.

An inspection prompted by a worker’s death in September 2012 turned up 43 violations at Southern Hens Inc.'s Moselle, Miss., plant, according to citations issued March 7 by OSHA. The worker slipped and fell into an unguarded screw conveyor while cleaning it, according to the agency.

The violations include at least two types of trip and fall hazards -- wet floors and a drain line and pipe lying across a walkway -- along with unmarked exits, failing to provided adequate PPE, not inspecting SCBAs at least monthly as required, and failing to evaluate broth tanks, chillers, and other areas to determine whether they are permit-required confined spaces, as well as not identifying mechanical and atmospheric hazards in an offal pit before requiring employees to enter and clean it.

OSHA classified 37 of the violations as serious, meaning the agency concluded there is substantial probability death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which Southern Hens management knew or should have known. The total proposed penalty is $160,000.

"Employers cannot allow workers to be exposed to unguarded equipment or other workplace hazards," said Clyde Payne, OSHA's area director in Jackson, Miss. "It is imperative that management take immediate action to eliminate the hazards identified in this inspection before another worker is injured or killed."

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