There appear to be several bad apples in the Pilgrim’s Pride stable of facilities.

Christopher Chin probably thought it only would take a second to remove the piece of cardboard from the hopper at the Pilgrim’s Pride facility where he worked in Canton, Ga., last October. Reaching in to grab the cardboard, Chin became caught in the machine and was killed. According to OSHA investigators, the machine should have been fitted with a guard to keep employees from reaching into the machine while it was operating.

OSHA issued four serious safety violations to Pilgrim’s Pride for failing to conduct annual periodic inspections of the energy control procedures since 2005 and not providing effective machine and equipment guarding, so that workers could not enter areas of operation and be exposed 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.

“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 agency issued two repeat safety violations, 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 has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any facility in federal enforcement states within the last 5 years. Similar violations were cited following a 2011 inspection.

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.

The citations for the repeat and serious violations carry $58,755 in proposed penalties. No monetary penalties have been assessed for the other-than-serious violations.

The spokesperson for Pilgrim’s Pride, Cameron Bruett, said the company is reviewing the citations and is working with OSHA to remedy any outstanding issues.

No Pride in Safety Record for Food Company
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