Federal inspections of Case Farms’ processing facilities in Ohio have resulted in an additional $462,000 in penalties for alleged deficiencies in ammonia refrigeration systems at two of the company’s poultry processing facilities in Ohio. With the latest citation, Case Farms has been issued more than $1.87 million in fines from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 2015 for allegedly exposing workers to multiple safety and health violations.
OSHA cited the company for 11 repeated, four serious and two other-than-serious violations on December 1 at Case Farms’ plant in Winesburg, Ohio. Proposed penalties total $308,000. The company’s facility in Canton, Ohio, faces an additional $154,000 in penalties after OSHA cited it for five repeated and three serious violations on December 1.
According to a press release from OSHA, Case Farms has more than 10,000 pounds of ammonia in its refrigeration systems at each plant. Exposure to ammonia can cause serious respiratory illness, and the accidental release of ammonia from pressurized pipes and vessels may have catastrophic consequences.
OSHA also asserts that the company failed to do the following:
- Perform annual bloodborne pathogen refresher training.
- Provide hepatitis B vaccine for workers exposed to bloodborne pathogens.
- Store gas cylinders properly.
Prior to issuing these citations, OSHA in August placed Case Farms in the agency’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program after it assessed $861,500 in penalties following inspections at the company’s Winesburg facility.
OSHA cited Case Farms in September 2015 for exposing workers to amputation, fall, electrical and other serious hazards after two workers suffered amputations while they cleaned machines at the Canton facility. The agency proposed penalties of $424,600 as a result of those inspections.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of 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 has contested all previous citations.