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OSHA Fines Gainesville Poultry Plant $50,000

Chickens can't fly and neither can people: OSHA issues a willful citation against Con-Agra Poultry of Gainesville, Ga., and proposed $50,000 in penalties for failure to provide workers with fall protection.

An OSHA inspection conducted in December 2002 found that employees working up to 11 feet from the ground on top of tanker trucks had no fall protection. The inspection was initiated from a complaint received about a fall that had occurred a few weeks earlier.

"Company representatives were aware of OSHA's requirement for fall protection but took no action to provide it," said G.T. Breezley, OSHA's Atlanta-East area director. "When an employee sustained serious injuries in a recent fall from a tanker truck, work was stopped and then resumed without any corrective action taken."

A willful citation is issued when an employer's actions show an intentional disregard or indifference to OSHA regulations.

Con-Agra employs about 17,600 workers nationally and approximately 1,200 at the Gainesville poultry processing plant. The company has 15 working days from receipt of the citation to comply, request an informal conference with the area director, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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