OSHA cites Jennie-O Turkey Store for 11 safety violations at its Barron, Wisconsin, facility, proposes US$318,000 in fines after worker's arm amputated below shoulder while conducting cleaning activities in confined space
January 24, 2012
– The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Jennie-O Turkey Store Inc. for 11 safety violations at its Barron facility after a worker's arm was amputated below the shoulder while the individual was conducting cleaning activities in a confined space. Jennie-O Turkey Store, based in Willmar, Minn., is a division of Austin, Minn.-headquartered Hormel Foods Corp.
"Jennie-O Turkey Store has a legal responsibility to follow established permit-required confined space regulations to ensure that its employees are properly protected from known workplace hazards," said Mark Hysell, director of OSHA's Eau Claire Area Office. "Failing to ensure protection through appropriate training and adherence to OSHA regulations led to a worker losing an arm."
OSHA initiated an inspection after the July 20, 2011, incident, in which the employee's arm allegedly became caught in an energized turkey shackle line while the employee was working alone in a confined space. Afterward, the employee had to walk down a flight of 25 stairs and 200 feet across the production floor to get the attention of a co-worker for assistance.
Four willful violations involve not following OSHA's permit-required confined space regulations in the carbon dioxide tunnel room, including failing to ensure that workers isolated the carbon dioxide gas supply line and locked out power to the shackle line prior to entering the room to conduct cleaning activities, verify that electro-mechanical and atmospheric hazards within the room were eliminated prior to workers entering the space, test atmospheric conditions prior to allowing entry and provide an attendant during entries to the room. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or plain indifference to employee safety and health.
Seven serious violations involve failing to provide fall protection, provide rescue and emergency services equipment, develop procedures to summon rescue and emergency services, provide confined space entry procedures, prepare entry permits for the confined space, train employees and supervisors in entry permit procedures, and ensure that the entry supervisor performed required duties. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
In many instances, employees who work in confined spaces face risk of exposure to serious physical injury from hazards such as entrapment, engulfment and hazardous atmospheric conditions. Confinement may also pose entrapment hazards and require employees to work in closer proximity to hazardous machinery components than they would otherwise. Additional information on confined space hazards is available online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/confinedspaces/index.html.
Based on the violations cited during this latest inspection, OSHA has proposed $318,000 in fines. Jennie-O Turkey Store operates turkey growing and processing facilities in Minnesota and Wisconsin as well as national and international distribution systems. The company employs 1,200 workers at the Barron facility and 5,000 corporatewide. Prior to this inspection, OSHA had inspected the Barron facility four times since 2004, resulting in citations for 12 violations.
The citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/JennieOTurkeyStoreIncCitationInspection92562.pdf*.
Jennie-O Turkey Store 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.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Eau Claire office at 715-832-9019.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.