A major poultry processing plant in Mississippi was cited by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration after the conclusion of a recent investigation into the death of a worker. The OSHA report says that that the Southern Hens Inc. plant was cited with 43 safety and health violations discovered in connection to the death of an employee in 2012.
OSHA says in a press release that it launched the investigation after a September 2012 accident where a plant worker slipped and fell into an unguarded screw conveyor while cleaning equipment. The accident happened at the company’s Moselle, MS facility located in Jones County.
Of the 43 violations discovered, 37 amounted to what OSHA has labeled “serious safety and health violations.” Serious violations are those that contain a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer either knew or should have known.
OSHA says that the violations discovered included failure to provide protective equipment for employees, failure to identify mechanical hazards before employees entered the plant, failure to provide proper safety training for employees and failure to develop proper procedures for working on various poultry processing equipment. OSHA also said the plant was found to have blocked exit routes, exit signs that were not visible and a general lack of machines guarding processing plant equipment.
OSHA announced that the recent ruling represents a victory for workers at other plants and the hope is that the large fines levied against the company will send a strong message to other employers about the importance of following proper safety procedures. Employers do not have the right to allow workers to be exposed to unguarded equipment or other workplace hazards; after all, no paycheck is worth so high a price.
The OSHA report says that it has issued a fine against Southern Hens for $160,000 for the dozens of safety violations uncovered. Southern Hens has 15 days to appeal the ruling.
If you have questions about the workers’ compensation process or if you have been injured on the job and think you may need representation, please contact the Jackson workers’ compensation attorneys at Kobs & Philley PLLC at (601) 856-7800.
Source: “OSHA cites Southern Hens Inc. in Mississippi following worker fatality,” by The Associated Press, published TheRepublic.com.
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