Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. faces fines after worker fatality

By Joseph James Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Employment Occupational safety and health

OSHA cited Pilgrim's Pride Corp. after worker death
OSHA cited Pilgrim's Pride Corp. after worker death
Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. has been cited with almost $60,000 in proposed penalties after a worker fatality and other violations at its plant in Georgia.

The firm was hit with eight violations by the US Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) after an inspection in October in response to the fatality.

The worker died after becoming caught in an unguarded hopper while attempting to remove a piece of cardboard at the company's facility in Canton.

Two repeat safety violations include failing to include the process needed for the removal of locks and start-up following lockout/tagout and the electrical cords did not have an effective strain relief device.

The repeat violation exists when an employer has been cited for the same or a similar violation at any facility within the last five years and similar violations were noted following a 2011 inspection.

Serious violations

Two other-than-serious violations involve failing to consider safety and health standards for the refrigeration process and not including safety systems and their functions in the refrigeration operating procedures.

"Establishing safety and health programs that identify and remove hazards before a worker gets injured or sick goes to the very core of providing a safe and healthful workplace​," said Bill Fulcher, director of OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office.

"In this case, a tragic loss resulted from equipment that could easily have been guarded."

The citations for the repeat and serious violations carry $58,755 in proposed penalties.

FoodQualityNews.com contacting the firm for comment but non was forthcoming before we went to press.

Pilgrim and OSHA

Pilgrim's Pride Corp. employs 38,500 workers with operations in 12 states, Mexico and Puerto Rico.

The company has 15 business days from receiving the citations to comply, request an informal conference or contest the citations and penalties before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

The firm has previously been cited by OSHA for exposing workers to hazardous chemicals at its Lufkin, Texas site in December last year site which saw a $99,000 fine proposed including repeat and serious violations.

In July last year, Pilgrim’s Pride Corp and OSHA settled a whistleblower case for the sum of $50,000 in relation to the termination of an employee who raised environmental complaints about the company’s Mount Pleasant plant.

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