OSHA fines poultry processor for hazardous working conditions

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Aug. 13, 2015- Employees at a large chicken supplier are in danger of multiple and consistent hazards, including amputation, electrocution and hazardous falls, according to the Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

OSHA issued Case Farms Processing $861,500 in fines Thursday for 55 safety and health violations found during an investigation in February.

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Case Farms, which has facilities in Ohio and North Carolina, has been cited for more than 350 safety and health violations in the past 25 years, according to OSHA.

“Case Farms is an outrageously dangerous place to work,” said David Michaels, OSHA assistant secretary of labor in a press release. “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.”

OSHA's inspection found: Amputation hazards; fall hazards due to non-functioning fall-arrest systems, unprotected platforms and wet work surfaces; lack of personal protective equipment; numerous violations of electrical safety standards; improperly stored oxygen cylinders; and lack of emergency eye-wash stations.

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 said.

Case Farms Processing is headquartered in Troutman, North Carolina, and processes 2.8 million chickens per week at seven facilities in North Carolina and Ohio. It has more than 3,200 employees and produces more than 900 million pounds of fresh, partially cooked and frozen-for-export poultry products yearly.

The company has 15 business days to respond to the citations.

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