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OSHA News Release – Region 4
U.S. Department of Labor
Region 4 News Release
Release Number: 04-96-ATL (27)
Fri., Feb. 13, 2004
Contact: Jo Anne Burgoyne
Phone: (404) 562-2076
Agency proposes over $171,000 in penalties
ATLANTA -- The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited ConAgra Foods, Inc., following the investigation of an Aug. 13 fatal accident at the company's Athens, Ga., chicken-processing plant. The agency is proposing penalties totaling $171,500.
OSHA's investigation found that an employee reportedly was walking through a shipping-and-receiving area on the day of the accident when she was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer truck backing into a loading dock.
The company was cited for failing to provide adequate signs for exits and passageways, and to assure that truck drivers had a clear view before backing up. Other citations, which were not directly related to the accident, include failing to protect workers from electrical and machine-guarding hazards throughout the plant.
"This employee's tragic death was preventable, and the Labor Department's significant fine of $171,500 sends a clear message that this Administration will not tolerate the violation of safety standards," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao.
The company received 20 serious citations with proposed penalties totaling $61,500, and eight repeat citations, with $110,000 in proposed penalties.
The agency issues serious citations when there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. Repeat citations are issued when the employer had been cited previously for substantially similar conditions and the citations have become a final order of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
The company has 15 working days to contest the OSHA citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The worksite was inspected by staff from OSHA's Atlanta-East office located at LaVista Perimeter Office Park, Building 7, Suite 110, Tucker, Ga., phone: (770) 493-6644.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is dedicated to saving lives, preventing injuries and illnesses, and protecting America's workers. Work-related fatalities declined 6.6 percent in 2002, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For more information visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department releases are accessible on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call (202) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755.
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