Region 4 News Release: USDOL: 00-216
Thursday, Nov. 30, 2000
Contact: John Hall
PHONE: (205) 731-1534 ext. 0
OSHA FINES POULTRY PROCESSOR $125,750 FOR SAFETY VIOLATIONS AT JASPER, ALA., PLANT
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Marshall Durbin Food Corporation and proposed fines totaling $125,750 for safety violations found at the company's Jasper, Ala., plant.
According to John Hall, OSHA's Birmingham area director, the safety inspection was conducted as part of the agency's strategic plan addressing amputation hazards and those associated with food processing.
Following the inspection, OSHA cited the company for 20 serious violations with penalties totaling $74,750 and two repeat violations with fines of $25,000 each.
Confined space hazards accounted for the most critical of the serious citations. Workers in the plant's "old ice house" were exposed to ice engulfment and amputation hazards as well as entrances and exits blocked by ice accumulation. Other serious violations involving exposure to ammonia included: no adequate procedures to alert employees to ammonia releases; lack of training and adequate protective equipment for workers responding to ammonia leaks, and failure to implement a process safety management program for ammonia. The employer also failed to prepare workers in case of fire or other emergencies by training them about emergency evacuation and providing them with properly marked and sufficiently wide exits for prompt escape.
The two repeat violations cited by OSHA were failure to provide fall protection for employees working from elevated platforms and failure to properly train employees in lockout/tagout procedures to protect them from sources of uncontrolled hazardous energy. Lockout/tagout practices render machinery inoperable during maintenance and repair.
A $1,000 penalty was proposed for an other-than-serious violation involving failure to enter lost work days and restricted work days on the required OSHA log.
"The ice accumulation hazards present in Marshall Durbin's "old ice house" and the lack of protection from ammonia hazards placed workers at high risk of serious injury," said Hall.
The area director added, "Employers have an obligation to create a safe work environment by correcting existing hazards and properly training workers to respond to accidents and emergency situations. When those obligations are unmet, OSHA will not hesitate to take action."
OSHA defines a serious violation as one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew or should have known of the hazard.
Repeat violations occur when an employer has been cited previously for a substantially similar condition and the citation has become a final order of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Marshall Durbin Food Corporation, which employs about 500 workers in Jasper and 2,000 nationwide, has 15 working days to contest OSHA's citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Inspection of the worksite was conducted by OSHA's area office located at Vestavia Village, 2047 Canyon Rd., Birmingham, Ala. 35216; telephone: (205) 731-1534.