According to a news release from OSHA, the company failed to use proper safety procedures that allowed a release of 79 pounds of anhydrous ammonia at its Waco facility on September 28, 2015. Pilgrim’s was cited for two repeat and two serious violations under its Process Safety Management Standards.
The company faces penalties of up to $122,500, but has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the citations and penalties.
According to OSHA, it issued the two repeat citations to Pilgrim's for failing to implement proper standard operating procedures with accurate information on safety systems and how they worked. The company's process hazard analysis failed to address issues in the plant. This analysis identifies potential hazards associated with the processing of highly hazardous chemicals. Inspectors also found the company's inspections and equipment testing were not completed as scheduled or documented as required. The agency cited Pilgrim's for the same or similar violations at its plants in in Nacogdoches in February 2015 and in De Queen, Arkansas, in July 2013.
The agency also issued serious citations for failing to use proper methods to prevent over-pressurization and explosions in the system, and for placing the control and maintenance room facilities in the engine room for ammonia refrigeration.
“Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation is aware of the citations from OSHA at our Waco, Texas, poultry processing facility," the company said in a statement. "We take these allegations very seriously and are in the process of reviewing the citations internally. Pilgrim’s remains committed to providing a safe workplace for all of our team members and will work with our partners at OSHA to resolve these concerns.”
The latest citations come less than a month after Pilgrim’s was cited for an alleged incident when a worker at its plant in Russellville, Alabama, had a finger amputated up to the first joint on his left hand, and another alleged incident where electrical cords at the plant were improperly spliced.