US Labor Department's OSHA cites Cargill Meat Solutions for exposing
workers to hazardous energy at Illinois plant, proposes $114,000 in fines
BEARDSTOWN, Ill. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Cargill Meat Solutions Corp. with three safety violations for failing to protect workers from unexpected start-up of machines at its Beardstown pork processing facility. Proposed penalties total $114,000. OSHA initiated an inspection upon receiving a complaint alleging hazards.
"Cargill has a responsibility to provide training to workers about the hazards that exist in their facilities, and to respond to safety concerns expressed by workers," said Thomas Bielema, OSHA's area director in Peoria. "OSHA is committed to protecting workers on the job, especially when employers fail to do so."
One willful violation is directing workers to perform maintenance and servicing on carbon dioxide equipment without first documenting lockout and tagout procedures designed to prevent unexpected energization. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
One repeat violation is failing to train workers who operate equipment on procedures to properly control hazardous energy. 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. A similar violation was cited in May 2009 at the company's Nebraska City, Neb., facility.
One serious violation is failing to document and certify periodic inspections of lockout procedures for an older model of carbon dioxide equipment. 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 citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Cargill_Meat_Solutions_450214_111512.pdf.*
Cargill Meat Solutions, headquartered in Wichita, Kan., is a processor and distributor of fresh beef, pork and turkey, as well as cooked and marinated meats for retail and food service customers. It employs about 1,800 workers at its Beardstown facility. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Peoria Area Office at 309-589-7033.
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.
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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille or CD from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.
* Accessibility Assistance Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.