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OSHA issues Pilgrim’s Pride citation

According to a report released March 10 from OSHA in the U.S. Department of Labor, Pilgrim’s Pride in Russellville has some processing plant problems that might result in a hefty penalty.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued citations to Pilgrim’s, 2045 Highway 244 in Russellville, on March 7 following investigation into a machine operator injury. The 53-year-old machine operator reportedly suffered a severe injury as he attempted to reassemble a chicken-part separating machine. As he worked on the machine, it started unexpectedly and amputated the middle finger on his left hand up to the first joint.

The issue was cited as one repeated (“the agency has been cited previously for the same or a substantially similar condition and … OSHA’s regionwide inspection history for the agency lists a previous OSHA Notice issued within the past five years”) and one serious (“when the workplace hazard could cause an accident or illness that would most likely result in death or serious physical harm, unless the employer did not know or could not have known of the violation”) violation.

Proposed penalties are $77K.

OSHA cited Pilgrim’s Pride for “failing to develop, document and train workers on the specific procedures to prevent machinery from starting up during maintenance and servicing. The employer was previously cited for this violation in 2010 at this location.”

The serious citation relates to the employer improperly splicing electrical cords, which represents $7K of the proposed penalty.

OSHA provided a statement from Birmingham Director Ramona Morris. “This worker’s unfortunate injury at Pilgrim’s Pride could have been easily prevented. Management knew that employees were exposed to amputation hazards from machinery that could startup unexpectedly, yet they did nothing to fix the problem,” she said. “I am disappointed that management would allow these hazards to reoccur.”

Pilgrim’s could not be reached for comment.