LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The DeQueen poultry processing plant, which is owned by Greeley, Colo.-based Pilgrim's Pride Corp., was cited for 11 safety violations for exposing workers to hazardous chemicals, according to the US Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The company faces proposed penalties of $170,000.

The violations came to light during a January inspection conducted under the Process Safety Management Covered Chemical Facilities National Emphasis Program. The program is aimed at ensuring companies have safety measures and processes in place to prevent the unexpected release of toxic, reactive or flammable liquids and gases.

The company received a willful violation citation for failing to document that an emergency shutdown system was activated by an ammonia leak. The violation carries a $70,000 fine.

The company also received citations for nine serious violations for deficiencies of relief valves and failing to provide process hazard analysis, operating procedures, testing procedures and management of change procedures. Fines for the serious violations totaled $61,500.

The repeat violation, which carries a $38,000 fine, was cited for failing to ensure the adequate frequency of self-inspections and tests of ammonia refrigeration equipment and vessels.

Pilgrim's Pride is a subsidiary of JBS SA, Sáo Paulo, Brazil.