Two US processors fined for safety violations

By Helen Glaberson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Occupational safety and health Osha

Two US food firms are facing fines of between $71,500 (€50,500) and $85,800 (€60,600) for safety violations by the Department of Labour's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Red meat producer Tyson Foods Inc is facing proposed penalties of $71,500 for one repeat and nine serious violations that relate to process safety management (PSM) breaches.

The penalties follow health and safety inspections that were initiated by OSHA at the company’s US Dakota City facility in May 2011.

Six of the serious violations include failing to ensure fixed ladders were in a safe condition and the maintenance of electrical installations, said the department.

The remaining three serious violations include failing to ensure installed equipment met recognised and “generally accepted good engineering practices​” relating to discharge locations, said the agency.

OSHA said the violations directly relate to its PSM standard, which it said refers to the management of dangers associated with highly hazardous chemicals.
"OSHA has a stringent PSM standard. It is imperative that employers rigorously update and properly maintain each element of the process to minimise hazards, and provide a safe and healthful workplace for employees," ​said Charles Adkins, OSHA's regional administrator in Kansas City.

The agency said the repeat violation was similar to a PSM-related violation issued in January 2011 at Tyson Food's Lexington facility for failing to inspect and ensure on the installation of a system relief valve.

Chicken supplier fined

US chicken supplier Pilgrim's Pride Corp is also being fined by OSHA for six safety violations following a March inspection, with penalties totaling $85,800.

The company is being charged with two repeat violations and $77,000 in penalties at its Enterprise plant in Alabama, which produces Chicken feed.

The first violation involves the excessive accumulation of grain dust where a housekeeping program exists but is not followed or maintained, said OSHA.

The second relates to the accumulation of combustible dust on electrical components such as motors and controller equipment.

The company was cited for both of these violations in August 2009 at its Gainesville, Ga, facility, according to the agency.

Two other serious violations, with $6,600 in penalties, include allowing a junction box to be uncovered and exposing workers to fall hazards by not having guardrails on fixed stairs.
Two “other-than-serious” violations, with $2,200 charges, were cited for not recording all required information about workplace injuries in the OSHA 300 logs for 2008 and 2009.

An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm, said OSHA.

The administration said both companies have 15 business days from receipt of the citations to either comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Related topics Food Safety & Quality

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