CHICAGO – The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Anaheim, Calif. – based Bridgford Foods Corp. for 22 safety and health violations at the company’s Chicago meat processing plant. Proposed fines total $118,700, the agency said.

OSHA cited the company for three repeat health violations that involve failing to mark chemical containers with their contents and hazardous warning labels. The company also failed to provide an emergency eyewash station for employees working with corrosive chemicals such as sodium hypochlorite and anhydrous ammonia. Bridgford committed one repeat safety violation by having an obstructed emergency exit. Bridgford was cited for similar violations in 2010 and similar health violations in 2008 and 2010 at the Chicago facility, according to OSHA.

The agency also found nine serious safety violations, including a lack of guardrails on open pits, no hoist way enclosure on an elevator shaft, lack of machine guarding, no handrails on staircases with six risers and a lack of emergency illumination. The company was cited for electrical safety violations such as not enclosing live electrical equipment, missing electrical ground pins, not inspecting the power cords of damaged equipment and not covering unused circuit breakers.

Seven serious health violations OSHA cited were failing to conduct annual respirator fit tests and training, provide an emergency response plan and first responder awareness training, provide annual hazardous material technical-level training, conduct hazard assessments for employees exposed to eye and skin hazards and use electrical equipment approved for a hazardous location.

Finally, OSHA cited the company for one other-than serious safety violation for failing to have floor hole covers and one other-than-serious health violation, which was failing to have material safety data sheets for the chemical sodium hypochlorite.

Bridgford Foods is part of OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates follow-up inspections of what the agency calls “recalcitrant employers that have endangered workers by committing willful, repeat or failure to abate violations”. The company was placed in the program after being cited for willful and repeat safety violations based on a July 2010 inspection. Workers were exposed to energized equipment because the company failed to implement and provide training on lockout/tagout procedures, according to OSHA.