Poultry processor cited by O.S.H.A.

by Bryan Salvage
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HARBESON, DEL. – The Allen Family Foods Inc. poultry processing facility in Harbeson, Del., has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for allegedly exposing workers to workplace safety hazards. Proposed penalties total $182,200.

O.S.H.A. said in a press release it initiated an investigation on Sept. 9, 2009, in response to a referral made by Maryland Occupational Safety and Health after numerous serious and willful violations were issued at a similar processing facility in Maryland.

The company was cited by O.S.H.A. with 45 serious violations and a penalty of $182,000 was proposed. Two other-than-serious violations were also cited with a proposed penalty of $200. The serious violations address hazards with industrial trucks, falls, personal protective equipment, machine guarding, electrical hazards, process safety management, respirators and emergency response. O.S.H.A. relays it issues a serious citation when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with O.S.H.A.'s area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. O.S.H.A.'s role is to assure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, outreach, education and assistance.

“Allen Family Foods is very proud of our safety record and employee safety is our number-one priority,” Tracy Morris, vice president of human resources, Allen Family Foods Inc., told MEATPOULTRY.com. “Just last year, we reached 1,000,000 man hours without a lost time accident at the Harbeson, Del. facility, and we are over half-way there again, as of March 15.

“We are cooperating fully with O.S.H.A. and have abated all issues raised in the inspection with the exception of those we are contesting,” she concluded.

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