OSHA Cites ConAgra for Georgia Workplace Fatality

Feb. 17, 2004
OSHA has cited ConAgra Foods Inc., following the investigation of an Aug. 13 fatal accident at the company's Athens, Ga., chicken-processing plant. The agency is proposing penalties totaling $171,500.

OSHA's investigation found that an employee reportedly was walking through a shipping-and-receiving area on the day of the accident when she was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer truck backing into a loading dock.

The company was cited for failing to provide adequate signs for exits and passageways, and to assure that truck drivers had a clear view before backing up. Other citations, which were not directly related to the accident, include failing to protect workers from electrical and machine-guarding hazards throughout the plant.

"This employee's tragic death was preventable, and the Labor Department's significant fine of $171,500 sends a clear message" that the violation of safety standards will not be tolerated, said Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao.

The company received 20 serious citations with proposed penalties totaling $61,500, and eight repeat citations with $110,000 in proposed penalties.

The agency issues serious citations when there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. Repeat citations are issued when the employer had been cited previously for substantially similar conditions and the citations have become a final order of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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