Pilgrim's Pride Cited over Combustible Dust

US – Poultry processor, Pilgrim's Pride, has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for six safety violations following a March inspection at its plant in Enterprise, Alabama.
calendar icon 18 July 2011
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The company now faces penalties totalling $85,800.

Two repeat violations with $77,000 in penalties include allowing excessive accumulation of grain dust where a housekeeping programme exists but is not followed or maintained, and allowing electrical components such as motors, outlets, drop lights and controller equipment to be subject to the accumulation of combustible dust.

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 both of these violations in August 2009 at its Gainesville, Georgia plant.

"Pilgrim's Pride continues to allow combustible dust to accumulate on motors and electrical equipment, causing the potential for a fire or explosion," said Kurt Petermeyer, OSHA's area director in Mobile.

"OSHA will not tolerate this type of irresponsibility when it comes to protecting workers."

Two serious violations with $6,600 in penalties include allowing a junction box to be uncovered and exposing workers to fall hazards by not having guardrails on fixed stairs. 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.

Two other-than-serious violations with $2,200 were cited for not recording all required information about workplace injuries in the OSHA 300 logs for 2008 and 2009. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

The company, which produces chicken feed at its Enterprise facility, 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.

The site was inspected by OSHA's Mobile Area Office.

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