Our Atlanta worker’s compensation attorneys have heard about the problems with Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. in Georgia, especially after a worker died last year. However, we were still worried to see the number of violations and worker safety problems that were reported on recently. It has important implications for Georgia and others as Pilgrim’s Pride employs 38,500 people in 12 states, Puerto Rico, and Mexico.
The problems are at the company’s chicken processing facility in Canton, Georgia, where a worker was killed in October 2012. Employee Christopher Chin, a 37 year old Canton resident, died when he was caught in a machine at that facility. At the time, he was trying to remove a piece of cardboard from the machine, called a “hopper,”,which did not have a safety guard to keep employees out. Bill Fulcher, from OSHA’s Atlanta-East Area office, said, “Establishing safety and health programs that identify and remove hazards before a worker gets injured or sick goes to the very core of providing a safe and healthful workplace. In this case, a tragic loss resulted from equipment that could easily have been guarded.”
After Mr. Chin’s tragic death, the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigated the Canton facility and issued a report in April. The failure to have a barrier on the machine where Mr. Chin died, which may have contributed to his death, was one of eight violations cited at that facility. Along with that violation, three others were deemed “serious.” A serious violation is one when there is a substantial probability of death or serious harm from the particular hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. Lesser violations are those that relate to health and safety but would probably not cause death or serious harm. Other than the missing safety barriers, the other serious violation was that the company failed to conduct annual periodic inspections of energy control procedures since 2005. And some of the violations were repeat violations, which were violations cited by OSHA at a previous inspection in 2011. One of the repeat violations was that the electrical cords didn’t have an effective strain relief device. Another was failing to include the process needed for the removal of locks and start-up following lockout.
From these violations, Pilgrim’s Pride faces $58,755 in fines. When they received the report, the company had 15 days to comply, respond with a request for a meeting with OSHA’s Atlanta- East Area office, or contest the citations of violations before the Independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Atlanta Worker’s Compensation Attorneys
If you or a family member have been injured in a workplace accident, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Sammons & Carpenter may be able to help you get the compensation you need and deserve. Contact the Law Office of Sammons & Carpenter as soon as possible at 404-814-8948, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form for a free consultation.
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