Worker’s Death brings Safety Fines

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 @ 04:04 PM gHale

Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. is facing $58,755 in fines for eight safety violations following the death of a worker who became caught in an unguarded hopper while attempting to remove a piece of cardboard at the company’s facility in Canton, GA, said officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

OSHA’s Atlanta-East Area Office initiated its inspection in October 2012 in response to the fatality.

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Two repeat safety violations were for failing to include the process needed for the removal of locks and start-up following lockout/tagout. Additionally, the electrical cords did not have an effective strain relief device. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously faced citations for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. The company faced similar violations following a 2011 inspection.

Four serious safety violations involve the employer failing to conduct annual periodic inspections of the energy control procedures since 2005 and not providing effective machine and equipment guarding, so workers cannot enter areas of operation and suffer exposure to struck-by and caught-in hazards. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

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. 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.

“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.”

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

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