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OSHA proposes nearly $380,000 in penalties against Gainesville, Ga., poultry processor for willful and serious violations (8/17)

August 17, 2009
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OSHA is proposing $379,800 in penalties against Mar-Jac Poultry Inc. for safety and health violations at its Gainesville, Ga., facility.

The company is being cited with four willful violations with a proposed penalty of $252,000 for failing to update its hazard analysis in five year intervals as required, to establish specific procedures to maintain the integrity of process equipment and to institute equipment and procedural changes for the ammonia refrigeration system in 2004, 2005 and 2008. The employer also has failed to perform the required compliance audits for 2000, 2003 and 2007. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.

The plant is being cited with 37 serious safety and health violations for $127,800 in proposed penalties. The safety hazards include: a lack of proper machine guarding, uncovered floor holes, obstructed emergency exit routes, a lockout/tagout device not being affixed to electrical disconnect and portable fire extinguishers not being readily available. The health violations include failing to establish a maintenance program to ensure the reliability of the ammonia refrigeration system, implement noise controls and develop an emergency response plan for employees responding to ammonia emergencies. Additionally, two other-than-serious violations were found, but no penalty was assessed.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by staff from OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office, 2183 Northlake Parkway, Building 7, Suite 110, Tucker, Ga.; telephone 770-493-6644.

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