OSHA cited and fined Yalco Processing Co. $105,500 following a fatality at the company''s Water Valley, Miss., poultry rendering plant.
Clyde Payne, OSHA''s Jackson area director, said one worker was found dead at the bottom of the plant''s "feather whipper" on the morning of Jan. 22.
Payne explained that the victim may have entered the "feather whipper" to remove a jam or may have fallen through the opening at the top of the device.
Following an inspection of the facility, OSHA determined that an unsecured guard over the "feather whipper" was the cause of the fatality. Other serious citations included:
- unguarded machinery;
- uncovered floor holes and drains;
- confined space standards violations;
- fall hazards from open-sided platforms and stairs without railings;
- failure to have a hazard communication program, and
- wet and unsanitary floors.
"Work performed in poultry rendering plants is particularly hazardous," said Payne. "In this case, maintenance personnel made an opening at the top of the feather whipper for easy access when making repairs and conducting routine maintenance. Employees often walk on top of the machine to monitor the process in which flat metal bars welded to two horizontal shafts beat and spread-out chicken feathers before the enter a conveyor leading to another area of the facility. The victim was apparently caught by the metal bars and pulled in the feather whipper."
Yalco Processing Co. employs approximately 16 workers to process waste and by-products from Valley Fresh, an adjacent poultry processing plant.
The company has 15 working days to contest OSHA''s citations and proposed penalties.
by Virginia Sutcliffe