OSHA Sends Colo. Company to the Hogs; Allegedly Failed to Protect Workers from Hazards

May 9, 2005

The U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Seaboard Farms Inc., Holyoke, Colo., a subsidiary of Seaboard Corporation, $139,200 in proposed penalties for allegedly failing to protect workers from hazards at their eastern Colorado hog farm operation. The investigation was initiated under OSHA’s Site Specific Targeting Program, which identifies employers with elevated injury and illness rates.

“Strong enforcement, when necessary, is a key part of OSHA’s efforts to reduce workplace injuries and illnesses,” said Greg Baxter, OSHA regional director in Denver. “The significant penalty of $139,200 in this case demonstrates our commitment to protecting the health and safety of American workers.”

OSHA’s Denver area office cited Seaboard Farms for one alleged willful and 23 alleged serious violations of OSHA’s general duty clause and standards relating to farms and feed-mills. The willful citation, with a proposed penalty of $55,000, addressed unguarded machinery.

The serious citations, with a total of $84,200 in penalties, addressed inadequate respiratory protection; confined space entry precautions; lockout procedures; machine guarding; electrical work practices, procedures, and equipment; and forklift training.

Other serious citations involved hazard communication training; compressed gas cylinder storage; all-terrain vehicle (ATV) operator safety training; fall hazards; lack of instruction of the safe operation and servicing of all covered equipment; laceration hazards from contact with damaged metal siding in walkways; and inadequate eye protection and eye wash stations.

Willful violations are those committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. A serious citation is issued 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.

The employer has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to request an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or to contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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