OSHA fines Pilgrim’s on hazardous chemicals

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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LUFKIN, Texas – Piglrim’s Pride Corp. was cited for three repeat and four serious violations for allegedly exposing workers to hazardous chemicals at a Lufkin, Texas, facility, according to the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA).

The action came after a June inspection as part of OSHA's Process Safety Management Covered Chemical Facilities national emphasis program. Proposed penalties total $99,000.

Repeat violations include failing to:

• inspect and test process equipment consistent with applicable manufacturers' recommendations and good engineering practices;
• ensure that process equipment complies with recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices, and properly label containers holding hazard chemicals.

OSHA said the agency found similar violations at the company's Live Oak, Fla., location in April 2008 and at the work site in Russellville, Ala., in September 2010.

Serious violations the agency cited include failing to:

• correct deficiencies in process equipment;
• ensure that process safety information pertaining to equipment includes design codes and standards; and
• establish and implement written procedures to manage changes of the process.

"Process safety management prevents the unexpected release of toxic, reactive or flammable liquids and gases in processes involving highly hazardous chemicals," said David Doucet, director of OSHA's Houston North office. "Exposure to highly hazardous chemicals can be fatal. OSHA will not tolerate a company's failure to provide a safe and healthful working environment."

JBS S.A. owns a stake in Pilgrim's Pride, a chicken and processing wholesale distribution company. More than 33,000 workers are employed by the company, with about 1,400 working at the Lufkin plant.

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