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OSHA cites chicken feed producer for combustible dust hazards; nearly $86,000 fine total proposed

20 July 2011

Pilgrim's Pride Corp. in Enterprise has been cited for six safety violations by the U.S. Department of Labor's OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) following a March 2011 inspection. Penalties total $85,800.

Dust explosion risk from grain
Dust explosion risk from grain

Included were an excessive accumulation of grain dust that was allowed in two repeat violations with $77,000 in penalties where a housekeeping program exists but is not followed or maintained, and allowing electrical components such as motors, outlets, drop lights and controller equipment to be subject to the accumulation of combustible dust. The company was cited for both of these violations in August 2009 at its Gainesville, Ga., facility. 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. 

Kurt Petermeyer, OSHA's area director in Mobile said "Pilgrim's Pride continues to allow combustible dust to accumulate on motors and electrical equipment, causing the potential for a fire or explosion, OSHA will not tolerate this type of irresponsibility when it comes to protecting workers."

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 serious violations with $6,600 in penalties include allowing a junction box to be uncovered and exposing workers to fall hazards by not having guardrails on fixed stairs in the citations. 

Two 'other-than-serious' violations with $2,200 were cited for not recording all required information about workplace injuries in the OSHA 300 logs for 2008 and 2009. 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.

The site was inspected by OSHA's Mobile Area Office, 1141 Montlimar Drive, Suite 1006, Mobile, Ala. 36609, USA.

The company, which produces chicken feed at its Enterprise facility, 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. 



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