Repeat violations have added up for this Ohio company. Its OSHA fines in 2015 now total more than $1.87 million.
The latest infractions filed against Case Farms chicken processing facilities in Winesburg and Canton involve deficiencies in ammonia refrigeration systems. Fines total $462,000 for the most recent citations.
The Winesburg plant has been cited for 11 repeat, four serious and two other-than-serious violations for a total of $308,000 in fines. The Canton facility faces five repeat and three serious violations with a total of $154,000 in penalties.
OSHA says Case:
- lacked clear, written operating procedures for ammonia refrigeration systems
- failed to test and inspect refrigeration systems
- didn’t provide adequate training for workers
- failed to perform annual bloodborne pathogen refresher training
- didn’t provide hepatitis B vaccine for workers exposed to bloodborne pathogens, and
- failed to properly store gas cylinders.
OSHA cited Case in 2011 for many of the same violations.
In 2013, Case and OSHA reached a settlement agreement following violations at the Winesburg plant. But follow-up inspections led to more citations issued in May and August 2015.
OSHA placed Case in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
In September, OSHA fined Case $424,600 after a 17-year-old working at its plant had his left leg amputated from the knee down while he was cleaning a machine. Also, a 24-year-old employee lost the tips of two fingers while cleaning a machine.
Case may face even more violations. OSHA has an open investigation at the Winesburg facility involving recordkeeping and employee exposure to campylobacter bacteria, which humans can contract from animal feces.
The company processes 2.8 million chickens per week at seven facilities in North Carolina and Ohio. It has more than 3,200 employees.
In a written statement, Case Farms said it was reviewing the latest citations and would work with OSHA to address concerns.
“While we do not deem it appropriate to comment on ongoing administrative matters, we do not agree with the negative characterizations that have been made about our company and our employees,” the statement said. “We value our employees and are committed to providing a safe and healthy work environment.”
Case Farms has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, request a conference with OSHA or contest the findings before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.