The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has imposed $170,000 in fines against Pilgrim's for 11 safety violations at its plant in De Queen, Ark.

The inspection, which began in January, was initiated under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Process Safety Management Covered Chemical Facilities National Emphasis Program. Pilgrim's was fined $70,000 for a willful violation as the company received a citation for failing to document that an emergency shutdown system was activated by an ammonia leak. 

Pilgrim's was also cited with nine serious safety violations, with $61,500 in fines. Those citations were for deficiencies of the relief valves and failing to provide process hazard analysis, operating procedures, testing procedures and management of change procedures. 


The repeat violation, with a fine of $38,500, was for failing to ensure the adequate frequency of self-inspections and tests of ammonia refrigeration equipment and vessels. A similar violation was cited in 2011.

Pilgrim's has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with the area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.