Case Farms to appeal $1.4M OSHA fines
Sept. 29, 2015
by Erica Shaffer
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CANTON, Ohio – Case Farms Processing Inc., Troutman, NC, is contesting more than $1.4 million in penalties imposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for worker safety and health violations.
The latest penalties issued by OSHA include 16 violations at Case Farms’ facility in Canton, Ohio. The agency said safety failures resulted in two serious injuries. A 17-year-old worker employed by subcontractor Cal-Clean of Greensboro, NC, had his left leg amputated from the knee while he was cleaning a liver-giblet chiller machine.
“Case Farms does not supervise the sanitation contractor employees working at it its facilities, but the company is responsible for exposing the Cal-Clean employee to operating parts of machinery because it failed to install safety mechanisms,” OSHA said in a news release. “OSHA also cited Cal-Clean for failing to report the amputation to the agency within 24 hours, as required.”
Additionally, a 24-year-old Case Farms employee lost the fingertips of his right middle and ring fingers because the operating parts of a plunger on a fat sucker machine were not prevented from operating during the cleaning process, OSHA said.
OSHA noted that the 24-year-old was suspended for 10 days and later fired, while the 17-year-old also was fired from his job at Cal-Clean.
On Sept. 24, OSHA cited Case Farms for two willful, 10 repeated and four serious safety violations with proposed penalties of $424,600. Callaghan and Callaghan, the owner of Cal-Clean, also was penalized with $179,700 in fines on Sept. 28 for two willful, five serious and three other-than-serious safety violations. Both Case Farms and the subcontractor were cited for exposing workers to amputation, fall, electrical and other serious workplace hazards.
OSHA said two other inspections remain open at Case Farms’ Canton facility. In June, the agency opened an investigation into deficiencies in the plant’s ammonia refrigeration system. And in July, OSHA began investigating allegations that workers were experiencing symptoms of campylobacter infection, a foodborne illness.
OSHA previously cited Case Farms on Aug. 13 for two willful, 20 repeat, 30 serious and three other-than-serious safety and health violations at the company’s facility in Winesburg, Ohio. The violations also landed the company in OSHA’s list of Severe Violator Enforcement Program. The agency’s February 2015 inspection revealed:
• Amputation hazards.
• Fall hazards due to non-functioning fall-arrest systems, unprotected platforms and wet work surfaces.
• Lack of personal protective equipment.
• Numerous violations of electrical safety standards.
• Improperly stored oxygen cylinders.
• Lack of emergency eye-wash stations.
At the time, Case Farms said “We do not agree with the negative characterizations that have been made about our company and our employees.” The company also emphasized its commitment to providing a safe and healthy work environment for Case Farms employees.
Case Farms has facilities in Canton, Strasburg, Massillon and Winesburg, Ohio. The company’s North Carolina operations are in Dudley, Goldsboro, Mount Olive and Morganton. The company processes more than 900 million lbs. of poultry products annually and employs 3,200 workers.