Region 4 News Release: 09-369-ATL (096)
April 16, 2009
Contact: Michael Wald
U.S. Department of Labor's OSHA cites Gainesville, Ga., poultry processor with 22 workplace safety and health violations
ATLANTA -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is proposing 22 safety and health violations with fines of $73,275 against Fieldale Farms Poultry LLC.
A January inspection of the company's processing plant in Gainesville, Ga., has resulted in the agency proposing two repeat violations with $27,500 in proposed penalties, 18 serious violations with $45,775 in proposed penalties, and two other-than-serious violations with no monetary penalties.
"To prevent workplace injuries, companies must incorporate good safety practices into their culture and not leave safety to chance," said Gei-Thae Breezley, director of OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office.
The two repeat violations are for the company's failure to provide standard guardrails for open-sided platforms, and using flexible cords and cables as a substitute for fixed wiring. OSHA issues repeat violations when it finds, following an initial violation, a substantially similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any other of a company's facilities in federal enforcement states.
Serious violations alleged include the company's failure to annually train employees on hazards related to bloodborne pathogens and to make the Hepatitis B vaccine available to employees exposed to bloodborne pathogens. Safety training was not provided to all employees, exit routes were obstructed, and workers were exposed to noise and electrical hazards. The company failed to provide personal safety equipment and did not have machine guards on equipment. A serious citation is issued 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.
The two other-than-serious citations were for the company's failure to certify that all hazards of the permit required confined space had been eliminated, bloodborne pathogen training had been conducted and employees who declined the Hepatitis B vaccine had signed a declination form. 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 company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA Atlanta-East area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by staff from OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office, 2183 Northlake Parkway, Building 7, Suite 110, Tucker, Ga.; telephone 770-493-6644.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to promote the safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
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