Mississippi poultry company cited by US Department of Labor's OSHA
for safety and health violations following worker fatality
HATTIESBURG, Miss. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Marshall Durbin Cos. in Hattiesburg for 12 safety and health violations following the December 2010 death of a worker who was struck by a tractor trailer while filling potholes near the plant entrance. The fatality investigation led to a comprehensive inspection of the plant in January 2011.
OSHA cited the company for one serious safety violation related to the fatality for exposing workers to struck-by hazards by not requiring them to wear high-visibility clothing and by not implementing traffic control measures. Four other serious safety violations include missing mid-rails from stair railings, not adequately illuminating exit routes, failing to have proper machine guarding and not mounting electrical junction boxes to a structure. Additionally, three serious health violations were cited for allowing emergency responders wearing respirators to have beards, permitting unsanitary bathrooms and failing to label hazardous chemicals. 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.
The company also was cited for three repeat safety violations for exposing workers to unguarded rotating gear shaft ends, not labeling electric circuit breaker panels and using a flexible conduit in wet locations that was not waterproof. One repeat health violation was cited for exposing employees to corrosive material without facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes. 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 other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. The company was cited for three of those four violations at the same location in April 2010, including having unlabeled control panels and a non-waterproof conduit in wet locations, and lack of access to the eye wash station.
"An employee's life was needlessly lost because the employer failed to identify and eliminate hazards prior to allowing work to begin," said Clyde Payne, OSHA's area director in Jackson. "If OSHA's standards for safety and health had been followed, this tragedy could have been avoided."
Marshall Durbin Cos., headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., is one of the largest privately owned poultry processing companies in the U.S. and employs approximately 3,000 workers, including 927 at the Hattiesburg location.
Proposed penalties for the citations total $120,000. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by OSHA's Jackson Area Office, 100 W. Capitol St., Suite 749, Jackson, Miss. 39269; telephone 601-965-4606. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-6742 (OSHA)
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.