'Outrageously Dangerous' Ohio Chicken Processor Cited

Case Farms Processing Inc. faces $861,500 in penalties and has been added to OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

Describing the company as a leading supplier of chicken to national fast food and supermarket brands, OSHA announced it had cited Case Farms Processing Inc. on Aug. 13 for two willful, 20 repeat, 30 serious, and three other-than-serious safety and health violations, along with assessing $861,500 in penalties and adding the company to its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, after an inspection of Case Farms Processing's Winesburg, Ohio, facility that was triggered by a referral.

OSHA's announcement said the company was aware of amputation, electrocution, and fall hazards at the facility but continued to expose workers to serious and potentially fatal injuries. The company is based in Troutman, N.C., and operates plants, hatcheries, and feed mills in both Ohio and North Carolina.

"Case Farms is an outrageously dangerous place to work. In the past 25 years, Case Farms has been cited for more than 350 safety and health violations," said Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels. "Despite committing to OSHA that it would eliminate serious hazards, Case Farms continues to endanger the safety and health of its workers. This simply must stop."

The February 2015 inspection found amputation hazards; fall hazards due to non-functioning fall arrest systems, unprotected platforms, and wet work surfaces; lack of personal protective equipment; violations of electrical safety standards; improperly stored oxygen cylinders; and a lack of emergency eyewash stations.

"Case Farms has an extensive history of health and safety violations. Since 1988, OSHA and the Occupational Safety and Health Division of North Carolina's Department of Labor have inspected the company 66 times at its facilities in North Carolina and Ohio, with citations issued in 42 of those inspections. A majority of the inspections were initiated after worker injuries, complaints, or referrals," OSHA reported.

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