Case Farms has been fined by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for allegedly exposing workers to dangerous machinery hazards at its Winesburg, Ohio, facility.
The alleged violations took place less than two years after agreeing to address safety violations in a settlement agreement with OSHA. The agency says the company has recently exposed workers to the same hazards at the facility.
OSHA found one willful, four repeated, one serious and one other-than-serious violation at the facility during two follow-up inspections, which cited the company for 23 safety violations in 2011. OSHA initiated the follow-up inspections to verify that previously cited hazards had been corrected at the facility. The chicken producing and processing company faces proposed penalties of $126,500.
"Case Farms Processing continues to demonstrate that the safety and health of its workers is not a corporate priority," said Deborah Zubaty, area director of OSHA's Columbus office. "This inspection demonstrates that the company has failed to meet the goals outlined in the 2013 agreement. This is a disheartening setback for worker safety at this company."
OSHA's inspection found that machinery lacked proper safety mechanisms and workers faced amputation hazards while operating saws and grinders. Additionally, sanitation workers were not included in company audits concerning machines starting up during service and maintenance. The company, according to OSHA, also failed to maintain an accurate log of worker injuries and illnesses.
The company has 15 business days after being notified about its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Case Farms, however, has been honored in recent months for its worker safety record at other facilities. In 2014 Case Farms earned the Award of Honor for worker safety and health performance from the Poultry Industry Safety, and Health Council. This award distinguishes companies who demonstrate a strong commitment to implementing innovative and effective employee safety and health programs. The award was presented to the Goldsboro , North Carolina, processing plant and hatchery during the 2014 National Safety Conference for the Poultry Industry.
In addition, Case Farms’ Winesburg, Ohio feed mill was presented the Award of Merit.