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Region 4 News Release: 13-617-ATL (76)
April 16, 2013
Contact: Michael D'Aquino     Lindsay Williams
Phone: 404-562-2076     404-562-2078
E-mail: d'aquino.michael@dol.gov     williams.lindsay.l@dol.gov

Pilgrim's Pride Corp. in Canton, Ga., cited by US Department of Labor's
OSHA for repeat and serious violations following worker fatality

CANTON, Ga. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Pilgrim's Pride Corp. with eight safety violations following the death of a worker who became caught in an unguarded hopper while attempting to remove a piece of cardboard at the company's facility in Canton. OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office initiated its inspection in October 2012 in response to the fatality.

Two repeat safety violations have been cited for failing to include the process needed for the removal of locks and start-up following lockout/tagout. Additionally, the electrical cords did not have an effective strain relief device. 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 facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Similar violations were cited following a 2011 inspection.

Four serious safety violations involve the employer failing to conduct annual periodic inspections of the energy control procedures since 2005 and not providing effective machine and equipment guarding, so that workers cannot enter areas of operation and be exposed to struck-by and caught-in hazards. 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.

Two other-than-serious violations involve failing to consider safety and health standards for the refrigeration process and not including safety systems and their functions in the refrigeration operating procedures. 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.

"Establishing safety and health programs that identify and remove hazards before a worker gets injured or sick goes to the very core of providing a safe and healthful workplace," said Bill Fulcher, director of OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office. "In this case, a tragic loss resulted from equipment that could easily have been guarded."

The citations for the repeat and serious violations carry $58,755 in proposed penalties. No monetary penalties have been assessed for the other-than-serious violations.

Pilgrim's Pride Corp. employs approximately 38,500 workers with operations in 12 states, Mexico and Puerto Rico. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's Atlanta-East 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) or the agency's Atlanta-East Area Office at 770-493-6644.

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, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.


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