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Mississippi Company Faces Fine over Fatality

by 5m Editor
21 June 2011, at 9:14am

US – The US Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Marshall Durbin Cos. in Hattiesburg Mississippi for 12 safety and health violations following the death of a worker who was struck by a tractor trailer while filling potholes near the plant entrance in December 2010.

The fatality investigation led to a comprehensive inspection of the plant in January 2011.

The company now faces fines of $120,000.

OSHA cited the company for one serious safety violation related to the fatality for exposing workers to struck-by hazards by not requiring them to wear high-visibility clothing and by not implementing traffic control measures.

Four other serious safety violations include missing mid-rails from stair railings, not adequately illuminating exit routes, failing to have proper machine guarding and not mounting electrical junction boxes to a structure. Additionally, three serious health violations were cited for allowing emergency responders wearing respirators to have beards, permitting unsanitary bathrooms and failing to label hazardous chemicals.

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.

The company also was cited for three repeat safety violations for exposing workers to unguarded rotating gear shaft ends, not labeling electric circuit breaker panels and using a flexible conduit in wet locations that was not waterproof.

One repeat health violation was cited for exposing employees to corrosive material without facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes.

A repeat violation exists 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.

The company was cited for three of those four violations at the same location in April 2010, including having unlabeled control panels and a non-waterproof conduit in wet locations, and lack of access to the eye wash station.

"An employee's life was needlessly lost because the employer failed to identify and eliminate hazards prior to allowing work to begin," said Clyde Payne, OSHA's area director in Jackson.

"If OSHA's standards for safety and health had been followed, this tragedy could have been avoided."

Marshall Durbin Cos., based in Birmingham, Alabama, is one of the largest privately owned poultry processing companies in the US and employs approximately 3,000 workers, including 927 at the Hattiesburg location.

Proposed penalties for the citations total $120,000. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.