National News Release USDL [02-335]
Date: Friday, June 7, 2002
Contact: Bill Wright
Phone: (202) 693-1999
OSHA ISSUES SAFETY AND HEALTH VIOLATIONS
AGAINST SUCCESSOR FIRMS TO DECOSTER EGG FARMS
WASHINGTON - Four companies that took over the DeCoster Egg Farm's business in Turner, Maine, were cited yesterday by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for safety and health violations. The companies are facing penalties totaling $344,810.
A total of twenty-seven alleged violations of OSHA's safety and health standards were delivered to Maine AG, LLC; Maine Contract Farming, LLC; PFS Loading Services, Inc.; and Turner Maintenance & Services, Inc. Maine Contract Farming, LLC was also cited for four alleged willful violations.
"I am committed to protecting workers and promoting safe workplaces. Companies need to make safety their number one priority," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "While these companies have made some strides in addressing previously cited hazards, it's important that they continue to work to protect their workers."
OSHA initiated inspections last December at the four facilities to determine compliance with previously cited hazards. As a result of those follow-up inspections, OSHA issued citations against the firms for unguarded equipment, defective eye wash stations, hazardous electrical equipment, uninspected fire extinguishers, exposed asbestos, unsafe roof structures, unsanitary shower facilities, fall hazards and unmarked floor jacks.
Four alleged willful violations were issued to Maine Contract Farming, LLC for exposing workers to the dangers of collapsing buildings. The egg farm, which contains multiple-barn complexes designed to house its chickens, has an extensive history of roof collapses caused by improperly installed roof trusses -- the most recent collapse in January 1999. The alleged willful violations carry a total penalty of $280,000.
The remainder of the citations issued included: five alleged serious violations with proposed penalties of $5,410; 12 alleged repeat violations carrying $59,400 in proposed penalties; and six other-than-serious violations with no assessed penalties.
"We're going to continue to work with these firms to ensure that their employees are protected," said OSHA Administrator John Henshaw. "But we will not hesitate to wield a strong enforcement arm when employers refuse to fix identified hazards while continually placing their workers in danger."
(NOTE: See attached fact sheet for summary of citations).###
SUMMARY OF CITATIONS
DeCoster Egg Farms (4 companies)
Maine AG, LLC
Two serious violations (machine guarding, wiring design); penalty $1,800
Six repeat violations (medical services and first aid, portable fire extinguishers, electrical equipment, wiring methods); penalty $3,400
One other-than-serious violation for wiring methods; no assessed penalty
Maine Contract Farming, LLC
Four willful violations (improperly installed roof trusses, cited under 5(a)(1)), penalty $280,000
One serious violation (failure to maintain barn structures and buildings in a safe condition, cited under 5(a)(1)), penalty $2,500.
Four repeat violations (wiring methods, guarding of farm field equipment, unsafe vehicles, no sanitary shower facilities); $43,000
Three other-than-serious violations (failure to post accident prevention signs, guarding of farm field equipment); no assessed penalty
PFS Loading Services, Inc.
Turner Maintenance & Services, Inc.
Two serious violations (machine guarding, wiring design); penalty $1,110
One repeat violation (guarding of portable tools); penalty $3,000
Two other-than-serious violations (electrical equipment); no assessed penalty
This news release text is on the Internet World Wide Web at http://www.osha.gov. Information on this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 693-1999.