US Labor Department's OSHA cites Pilgrim's Pride Corp. with repeat and serious
violations for exposing workers to hazardous chemicals at Lufkin, Texas, facility
LUFKIN, Texas – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Pilgrim's Pride Corp. in Lufkin with three repeat and four serious violations following a June inspection as part of the agency's Process Safety Management Covered Chemical Facilities national emphasis program. Proposed penalties total $99,000.
"Process safety management prevents the unexpected release of toxic, reactive or flammable liquids and gases in processes involving highly hazardous chemicals," said David Doucet, director of OSHA's Houston North office. "Exposure to highly hazardous chemicals can be fatal. OSHA will not tolerate a company's failure to provide a safe and healthful working environment."
The repeat citations issued for the process safety management standard violations include failing to inspect and test process equipment consistent with applicable manufacturers' recommendations and good engineering practices, ensure that process equipment complies with recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices, and properly label containers holding hazard chemicals. 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. Similar violations were cited at the company's work site in Live Oak, Fla., in April 2008 and at the work site in Russellville, Ala., in September 2010.
Serious violations include failing to correct deficiencies in process equipment, ensure that process safety information pertaining to equipment includes design codes and standards and establish and implement written procedures to manage changes of the process. 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 Greeley, Colo.-based Pilgrim's Pride, a chicken processing and wholesale distribution company, operates in 12 states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. About 33,000 workers are employed companywide with about 1,400 at the Lufkin facility.
Detailed information on process safety management is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/processsafetymanagement/index.html.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA Houston North area director, or contest the citations and penalties 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), the agency's Houston North office at 281-591-2438 or its Houston South office at 281-286-0583.
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 or CD from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.