Cargill cited for OSHA violations, faces fines

by Bryan Salvage
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DODGE CITY, Kan. – Cargill Meat Solutions’ Dodge City facility has been cited with two repeat and 23 serious violations by the US Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for allegedly exposing workers to numerous occupational hazards. Following a combined safety and health inspection at the facility, proposed fines total $176,400.

In November 2010, OSHA's inspection of the facility was initiated under the agency's Site-Specific Targeting Program, under which OSHA focuses on employers with higher-than-average occupational injury and illness rates, according to news release.

"Many hazards at this facility existed for a long period of time, and there is just no excuse for exposing workers to them," charged Charles Adkins, OSHA's regional administrator in Kansas City, Mo. "It is imperative that employers take the necessary steps to eliminate hazards and provide a safe working environment for all of their employees."

OSHA said the two repeat violations address a lack of machinery anchorage and improperly used flexible cords. Similar citations were issued in February 2007 and in October 2009. 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, a repeat violation exists.

The 23 serious violations cited address hazards associated with process safety management, fall protection, access and egress, lockout/tagout of energy sources, material storage, personal protective equipment, machine guarding, electrical deficiencies, compressed gas cylinders and hazard communication. 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.

Cargill Meat Solutions has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director in Wichita, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

“We take these allegations very seriously and invest a substantial amount of resources in workplace and facility safety, training, processes and infrastructure,” a Cargill spokesman told MEATPOULTRY.com. “We will expeditiously address these concerns with OSHA. Employee safety is a top priority at Cargill.”
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